Foiling Bugs and Bambi

  Well , for sure Bugs and maybe Bambi . Just finished redoing the fencing around the garden . I had to rework it to include the bee hives , I moved them to the far end of the garden since the wife thought them too close to the deck . The "new" fence is 2" chicken wire at the bottom , 18" high across the front ant one side , 24" for the rest . That leaves 6" laying flat on the ground to the outside to discourage digging under . That's topped by 3 strands of electric fencing , at 2" , 12" and 24" above the top edge of the chicken wire . If the dog's reaction (last fall , t'was accidental) is any guide , Bambi won't want a second taste of the fence .
  Things is beginnin' to pop around here , the bees are building up for the spring flow , seedlings are (mostly) coming along nicely , and we're getting just about the right amount of rain at the right time . Got 29 strawberry plants in the ground with landscape fabric as a weed barrier , 2 kinds of lettuce , bok choi , and green onions in the ground and well mulched with straw and preps for the rest coming along . I sure hope this is the year for outrageously huge crops , the wife thinks I need to just give up since the production has been so abysmal the last couple of years ...
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On 3/18/2018 1:44 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

  Guess I shoulda made it clear I was referring to Bugs BUNNY ...
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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

the babies are so small they can get through a pretty small gap.
unfortunately our fencing is not full bunny proof and at times we've had them in the fenced gardens so i hardly ever manage to grow certain greens easily. if they don't get it the groundhogs (which are better climbers) often get a crack at some too, but at least with the beans they usually only eat the fresh growing tips and not the whole plant.
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Electric tops out 42-48" from the ground? Bambi won't even slow down while sailing right over it. No reason to touch it. Grab some plastic deer mesh (cheap, works) and run it up to 7 or 8 feet high. If you want to do electric fence for deer there's a design that angles out which supposedly causes them to try to crawl through and get zapped, but I think even that is up 6 feet or more and is kinda annoying to build with the angled bit. 7-8 feet of black plastic mesh is a bit hard to see and they tend to bounce off rather than make it over. I have seen orchards go to 12 feet of 6 inch wire mesh, but that's a whole other kettle of money.
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Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
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On 3/18/2018 6:44 PM, Ecnerwal wrote:

What's done should be adequate. Sounds like what a friend did for his garden. Deer don't normally go out of their way unless there is something they really like such as apples. They just browse around as if whole world is their salad bar and will eat vegetable plants even before vegetables appear.
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On 3/18/2018 6:15 PM, Frank wrote:

  Yup , and that's the problem . A nibble her , a nibble there , and pretty soon you got no lettuce . I'm not growing anything particularly attractive to deer , I'm just trying to encourage them to browse elsewhere . The rabbits are another story , they actively come looking for the field peas and other tender little plants . The electric fence is as much to discourage bears from the bee hives as to keep deer out . I had one hive damaged last year , luckily the bear didn't hang around longer and do more damage - might be that the dog scared him off , don't know , but he didn't come back after I fenced the yard with electric .
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Ecnerwal wrote: ...

cheap means it doesn't work for long. spend a few extra and get a good metal woven fence which will last 30-50yrs if maintained properly. Mom bought some of plastic mesh fence and it's falling apart and a mess, the rabbits and groundhogs chew right through it.

it's well worth it if done right you'll never have to replace it (unless you let trees fall on it or vines grow on it and they'll take it down, or someone runs into it with the car/lawn mower/tractor/etc.).
8ft is ok here (so far). unfortunately i wasn't with Mom when she bought the bottom part where it should be rabbit proof it really isn't. they can climb or get through (same with groundhogs).
i would have gone for finer mesh to give chipmunks more of a barrier and eventually i may do that anyways and put a hot wire along the top of that about 3/4" out so they have to grab it to try to go over. some bulbs they won't leave alone and it would be nice to have a chance at getting an edamame soybean crop without having to hunt each of them down. the semi-feral kitty doesn't get all of them.
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Terry Coombs wrote:
...fence...
i would have went 1ft on the ground and 3ft up. rabbits will do a little climbing and groundhogs will too. the electric fence will help. :) we don't have that fancy technology here yet. not sure i'll ever do that, but some day i may...

diversity and persistance will get some return, but last year wasn't the best here either for some crops (especially the beans which i grow the most). i just assume that some percentage of what gets planted will be animal food. last year they got 99% of the edamame soybeans and the three remaining plants had some chewing from rabbits. the chipmunks that ate those soybeans pretty much ignored all the rest of the bean plantings. only minimal sampling of those.
i'd hate to be up against bear. deer, chipmunks, groundhogs and grackles are the worst i have to contend with (and mice in the walls and in my car but that's not garden related, mostly...). the raccoons as of yet do not get into most of what we plant other than uprooting a few here or there if they think there's some goodies under them (they smell the fertilizers used by the greenhouse for the starts). as of yet the raccoons have not dug up any of the worms/worm compost i put under the plants even if it is only an inch or two below the surface of the soil. i top it with plain garden soil and that seems to not attract them enough so they don't disturb them going for an easy feast (thousands of worms per planting). i hope they don't read... :)
there's a vast number of other creatures around but as of yet they are minor and temporary when they are noticed at all (skunks, minks, muskrats, fox, possums, ...). i'm hoping there will never be a large feral pig population around here. in some other wilder areas they are about, but the closest i've ever heard of one getting to here was 3 miles away. there's a lot of open land and people with guns around here. too bad they don't get more of the deer.
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On 3/18/2018 10:18 PM, songbird wrote:

  There's a 'lectric wire right at the top edge of the chicken wire ... I figger they'll be well grounded when they touch that one .

    We've had possums , rabbits , armadillos , and raccoons , but no ground hogs yet . The bear thing I suspect was just a chance occurrence , they tend to stay a little more out in the woods as a rule . Feral hogs are not here yet , but have been sighted within a couple of miles of us - those will end up in the freezer if I see them . I haven't grown worms , we seem to have a pretty good population since I quit treating the ground for chiggers and ticks - that's a trade-off , I hate ticks (ever since I had Lyme Disease ...) with a passion . Ground squirrels are a potential problem , but we now have a cat - she just showed up one day - and she's a hunter . She has thinned the small rodent population and the dog likes her (70 pound dog playing with a 5 pound cat makes for some amusing scenes) , I guess we'll let her stay .
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On 3/19/2018 8:16 AM, Terry Coombs wrote:

We have a neighborhood feral cat that the neighbor has been feeding off and on so it has decided our block is it's domain. My husband thinks it may be sleeping under our house and getting in through a small hole, but he also said he hasn't seen any mice at all in the house or around the house, so I guess the cat is eating everything it can find!
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On 3/19/2018 5:10 PM, Muggles wrote:

  Miss Kitty isn't feral , but doesn't like to be held , and will only take a little petting before she jets off . That's just right for us . We feed her , but not necessarily enough to totally meet her needs . Some may disapprove , but she also manages to catch and eat an occasional bird . I call that natural selection ... and it hasn't seemed to affect the local population other than to make them more watchful .
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On 3/19/2018 5:58 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

We used to have an orange tabby cat that was strictly and outdoor cat. He'd catch birds every now and then, but one time he caught a some sort of animal, either a gopher or a large rat, in the back yard. I saw it out the kitchen window and by the time I got out the back door to dispose of the thing the cat had half of it eaten! ugh! I just walked away and let him finish. Tiger looked like he was pregnant with a litter 10 kittens for a week after eating that thing, too. He wasn't meowing for food for a while, that's for sure.
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On 3/20/2018 10:25 PM, Muggles wrote:

  I've seen Miss Kitty with a tree rat (a rat, not a squirrel) that was easily half her size . Squealing like crazy until she shook it , I went out to see what was the ruckus . I don't know how long it took her to eat it , she was way up under the deck . We don't see ground squirrels any more either ...
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On 3/21/2018 7:22 AM, Terry Coombs wrote:

That reminds me, we have a brand new young pair of hawks taking up residence somewhere near our house. All I can say is squirrels beware!
Those tree rats eat more tomatoes from our garden than any other critter. I hope the hawks eat well!
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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

there's a lot of difference between 1 and <x> when <x> is greater than a few... :)
i'm ok with the one being around at times but we don't feed it (it is probably the neighbor's kitty), but i don't want more than that one.
we have a pretty diverse bird population and used to have a very nice time viewing them in the birdbaths.
then the grackles started showing up when the cedar trees/pine trees got taller and they could nest and soon took over as the major force until i started hunting them to keep their population down. otherwise we'd have a large flock of them and they do really make a mess of things and will eat anything of the smaller birds they can find. if you've never seen what a single nesting pair of grackles will do to a birdbath imagine what half a dozen or more nests are like.
so far they have not come back this spring and that is unusual. perhaps, and i'm hoping i finally deterred them enough that they found another northern summer home. if not, i'm ready...
the more recent fun with the birdbaths the past few years is that the land owner to the north of us has a beekeeper putting hives back there and it is blocking my access to the back field and also the bees are swarming the birdbaths so that the birds will no longer use them.
just by chance yesterday someone was back there with a chainsaw and so i walked back to see what was up and it was the beekeeper. he thought he was all square with the land owner and he is, but neither of them thought to come talk to us about it so within a few minutes i had a visit from the land owner and we looked at the platt/map so he could see that yes we do own a part of the access road and that i do need to be able to get back there from time to time and not have it blocked by bee hives.
i think we're all square now, but i'll be curious if they put bees back there or not this year. we'll see... it has been dry enough that i might be able to get back there and get some brush cleared this week for a change. i've wanted to do it all winter but the ground hasn't been dry enough or had a lot of deep snow on it. no rain or snow the past several weeks so i'll give it a chance in a few more days when i finish up with the other thing i've started.
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On 3/21/2018 8:15 AM, songbird wrote:

  He was putting his hives right in the road ? Doesn't matter who owns it , that's just plain ignorant . Did you discuss the birdbath problem ? The beekeeper should provide water closer to the hives or move them , might make them stop . You might be able to stop it by leaving the birdbaths dry for a while , maybe move them , the bees will find another source and might not come back when you resume filling them . I see my bees getting water from just about any still water source . My hives are now in an addition on the northeast corner of the garden . The wife thought - and I agreed - that in the orchard less than 50 feet from the deck was too close .
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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

the access road is supposed to be shared between us and the northern landowner. he didn't think we had any part of the road until i showed him the platt. just the location where they were placing the hives off to the side was blocking my access. if they go back further east then it would be ok. i just need to be able to walk through there once in a while. he understood my points/issues so we'll see how it goes this year.
there is much closer water to the hives, the large drainage ditch runs all year, maybe 20- 40ft from the hives depending upon where they put them. the birdbaths are another 100-150ft east.
we can't move the birdbaths. we do let them go dry now, but that is more due to the grackles than the bees, but between those two things it sure has changed the diversity of birds using them.
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