FENCING - DREAM - Growing Beautiful Food: A Gardener's Guide to Cultivating Extraordinary Vegetables and Fruit (2015)

Growing Beautiful Food: A Gardener's Guide to Cultivating Extraordinary Vegetables and Fruit (2015)



Once you’ve decided the best spot to grow and marked out your beds, you’ll want to make sure you’re fenced in. If your yard is already fenced, you may wish to further protect and define your growing area. Good fences make good farms, not only because they keep critters out but because they define space, creating order in the landscape. Fences clarify your intentions: chicken run, orchard, vegetables, flowers, or animal paddock. When nature conspires to undo all of your aspirations and careful planning, at least you can visually contain the chaos.

We’ve had seasons at Stonegate where the weather was so erratic and our growing so compromised that the only reminders that there was a farm were the fencerows.

We fence with wooden post-and-rail stained matte black and top the main flow-through areas with decorative ball finials. This fencing goes well with the red and yellow buildings and mimics a fine art photography frame. To make our fences even more functional, we attach 5-foot galvanized welded wire to the inside rails and skirt it out a foot under the sod surface to repel small critters, while the fencing itself deters deer. This welded wire keeps out all of the woodchucks and bunnies and fades discreetly into the background. Always try to choose fencing that beautifully knits and ties your property together, that frames and articulates your growing space. A fencerow made from recycled industrial pallets might have a kind of DIY beauty, but its appeal is tied more to the resourcefulness of the process than the object itself. The same holds true for trellises made from EMT pipe or chain link, bean towers made of lashed-together PVC, or raised beds framed with salvaged concrete block; there’s beauty in the idea of repurposing, but ultimately, you have to look at it, and as the narrative of cleverly making it dims, you’re left living with something industrial and unsightly. Remember that beauty affects behavior. The more come-hither your farm is, the more you will come hither to care for it.