Help 'string' chicken wire around new garden

pat45November 16, 2007

I will be doing my first (retirement) garden in the spring and in addition to tilling the 30' x 30' plot this fall, I want to put the 4' chicken wire around the garden.

The wire comes in 150' rolls and I think that I (by myself) am going to have trouble doing this properly without a trick or two.

Where can I get info on doing this? I have a "come-a-long", a riding mower and a 1 ton truck. I have grown boys but they are up to their eye balls with the responsibilities of young families and civic offices.

I would like to surprise them when they come by during the holidays by having it done.

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First thing would be to set your posts. Are you going to use the steel T post that you drive into the ground or wooden post that you will have to make a post hole and put the post in?

I do not know if you need to bury a little bit of the wire under the surface of the ground to keep out digging pests or if that is a consideration or not. If so, you need to make your trench in line with the posts.

It is kinda hard to do without any help at all if you want to do it right, but if I were going to try to do it myself with what you described I would attach the wire to the beginning post firmly and tack a board over the edge to help hold it steady. then unroll the amount of wire needed to go just around the first corner (You did not say the total size that you want to fence).

Depending on how long that run is and how strong you are, you might be able to pull hard on the roll and wrap it around the first corner post, and get a staple or two into the post to hold it. Then stretch and fasten to the posts in line on that side as you go. You may need to take the first staples out to take up the slack when you get back to that corner.

Any of the equipment that you mention could easily rip and tear a flimsy roll of chicken wire. To try to use any of them, you would probably need to pinch the wire between a couple of pieces of two by fours and hitch the come a long or riding mower to each end of those with a rope or chain, then tighten very carefully and easily in the lowest gear, kill the motor with it in gear and the brake on when you get it nice and tight and then fasten it to the posts.

Tractor Supply Co. has a lot of good information on many subjects. This may be a bit of overkill for your little garden fence, but they have some diagrams and details which could possibly be helpful.

You probably get the picture, you would continue this back to the point of beginning or near there where the gate will go. If you have further questions, post them and some one will try to help.

Let us know how it goes.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 7:19PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Chicken wire is pretty light and won't require much tension. Also, it will rust out after a few seasons, maybe sooner than you would like. I used the heavier wire fencing and added a layer of chicken wire at the bottom which I buried. By going down into the soil a few inches, then outward several inches, you will foil any varmint's attempts to tunnel under the fence.

I installed the fence myself, using steel posts. Wire is somewhat ornery to handle, as you know, but not too terrible a struggle as I recall. Make a nice gate between two posts.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 9:20PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I forgot to mention, bury a row of bricks under the gate so the buggers can't burrow under it.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 9:23PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Once you have the posts in, you can just unroll the wire around the posts, stopping every 20 feet or so, and attach it to the posts with cable ties or something like them. Clip the ends after pulling them taut. To keep the roll from falling over you can attach the whole roll to a post, then go back and fasten what you've just unrolled. It's a manual operation but not very difficult. If weight is a problem, try buying shorter rolls that you can carry. Think about buying welded-wire fencing material instead, which is more expensive but will last much longer. If deer are a problem, use 6' fencing (higher for a larger area).

Steel posts are easy to pound in with a fence post driver, a heavy metal cylinder with teacup-like handles. You invert it over the post, raise it and hammer down a few times, keeping the post as straight as possible, until the crossbar is an inch or so below the soil surface. This requires a little strength but not as much as you would think. You may have to move a post if there's a large rock directly underneath. Leave a border of lawn between the garden bed and the fence, since the sod will help hold the post in place. 2-3' is a good width to allow you to walk around the border. For the same reason you might want to lay out your garden in strips with paths between them, so that you can tend your plants without trampling on and compacting the soil. Your 30' square would give you four 4' Ã 25' vegetable beds.

To repel this year's vole invasion, I had to trench in ¼" mesh hardware cloth all around the inside of the deer fence. But you can cross that bridge when you come to it if you don't know whether burrowing critters are a problem. A dog and cat might be cheaper and better company. Keep in mind that if you trench in a fence, it will be much harder to expand the garden later.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 2:19AM
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