“How can I defend against garden pests?” I get that question a lot. Living in the Chicagoland area means defending my garden against deer, skunks, opossum, raccoons, voles, moles, mice, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, insects, and birds. It’s war. And it’s not pretty. Spraying chemical insecticide’s in my organic garden is not the preferred approach. I usually hand pick insect pests or spray them with soapy water. Right now you can find all sorts of organic products such as Liquid Fence on the market to protect against animals. Some liquid garden fences are made from hot peppers, other products are made from animal urine or some other all natural ingredients that stink to high heaven. In my experience, the products are only effective about half of the time. In the end, a hungry deer or rabbit can destroy your garden in one tragic evening. I have had some success by surrounding my garden with smelly plants like globe basil and marigolds. Of course, there’s always a fence. A more successful solution than sprays or powders, putting a fence around your garden is probably the best way to defend against animal pests.
What Is Militant Gardening?
With this fence concept in mind, I wanted to show you a privately owned garden in my community. And no – it is absolutely not my garden, but I am curious about what you think. I like to title this gardening technique “Militant Gardening”. The owner of this garden has surrounded his patch of vegetables with a 6 foot fence that is buried in the ground and covered with cement block edging at the bottom where the fence meets the ground so burrowing animals cannot get under. There is a secondary fence with tighter rungs attached to the base of the larger fence to help with smaller animal invasion. Wire is stretched over the top at one foot intervals to prevent birds from invading. The garden itself is lined with black landscaper fabric – it prevents the special garden soil from touching the ground and getting the native dirt and insect pests mixed in with the high-end vegetable garden soil. Each garden space is measured out exactly. Several feet of gravel surrounds the exterior of the six foot fence – kind of a desert perimeter with no plants growing. Outside of the desert gravel perimeter and six foot fence is a final black fabric fence to further inhibit large animals from invading the garden zone.
Is it worth it?
I think a fence can be a good thing for a garden, but this might be taking it a little too far. What say you about this particular brand of militant gardening? I’m interested in your opinion. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.