Preparing the field – fencing

Getting some real fencing around the vegetable field is a significant priority. We’ve grown corn, beans, squash, and more out here over the past few years, and deer are a significant problem (as are raccoons). Fencing is a must, so we’ve been working on that lately. The goal is a solid welded-wire fence that will stop all small critters, tall enough to stop most deer, with several electrified wires to stop raccoons and goats.

First, we surveyed the fence lines we wanted to establish, laying out straight lines that would require a minimum of bracing and angles. Gate locations were an important consideration for future workflow of vehicles and people. When this was set, we used our potato plow to trench the fencelines so we could bury the bottom to deter digging.

We’re using a combination of farm-cut cedar posts and metal T-posts to support the fence. The former are a natural byproduct of our orchard-clearing, while the latter we scrounge and source from auctions, Craigslist, and so on (the welded-wire fencing came used from Craigslist as well). To set the cedar posts, we drill holes with a tractor-mounted auger before setting the posts, and brace corners with our farm-milled cedar lumber. Below, you see a future gate entrance to the field.

When all posts are set, we unroll and start attaching the welded wire. The ground is uneven enough to keep the fencing a bit wavy, and I expect the fence posts to settle and tilt a bit, but they ought to stay up and do their job. A little bracing here and there on poor performers will do the trick. Below you see the southern fenceline, for which we had to clear a stand of trees that was encroaching on to our good farm land. When all the main fencing is in place, I’ll go back through and string hot (electrified) wire at several heights along offset insulators to discourage coons from climbing and deer/goats from rubbing. We’ll be building solid cedar-plank gates for the main entrances, which is a good rainy-day project.

Hopefully this system works reasonably well, and we can keep the critters to a manageable level. There will certainly be a lot of tasty stuff behind this fence, so we’ll see how it works. I don’t expect it to be as straight, pretty, or perfect as a professional job, but doing it ourselves saves so much investment that it’s worth it. We’d just rather do things ourselves whenever we can.

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