Hello and welcome back to the wonderful world of the Dogpound. For some time now, I have wanted to start a garden. Where I...

Hello and welcome back to the wonderful world of the Dogpound. For some time now, I have wanted to start a garden. Where I used to live until recently, I had deer walking through my yard almost daily, and I figured a garden had little chance of surviving. So the best I could do was to get some big containers, plant some tomatoes in them, and keep them close to the garage in the hope that the deer would not get too adventurous. Now I have a garden space, and it looks like Fort Knox. Let me back up a bit and explain. The prior owners had made a nice garden spot out behind the house. They took railroad ties and made a 24-by-16-foot rectangle, and inside that area they put four raised areas in each corner and a smaller one in the center. They then proceeded to fill the areas around the raised areas with gravel. A nice setup. Not sure what they put in those areas, but the past owners really did not put much TLC into the garden, so I had to spend a lot of time pulling weeds – there was a 4-foot maple sapling growing in one area – and tilling the ground before I could even think of planting anything. I was not going to go to crazy the first year. In one section I put in tomatoes, in another wildflowers, green beans in the third and in the fourth peas. I wanted to put an ornamental tree in the middle, but I could not find anything I liked, so I put in some sunflowers. Now back to Fort Knox. Even though deer were not running through my yard, I see some almost every morning on the drive to work, so I knew they were not far away. I really did not want to put up a fence. I figured it would be too difficult to do by myself, so I got some stakes and rope and started to surround each raised section with strings of rope. That is a lot of rope to make four rows and then add stringers in between each row to reinforce them and reduce head room in case a deer tried to put its head through. Despite all that effort, I finally decided I might go ahead and try putting up a fence. I understood the deer could easily jump a fence, but I figured it would at least keep them from just taking a leisurely walk though my garden. I bought a roll of 4-foot fence and some stakes. To my surprise it was not that hard. So now I have a dual defense: the outside and the inside. Then I started thinking: even though deer have good eyesight, they might try to jump over the fence and that could be a mess for the garden and for the deer. I had heard that there was some success in keeping deer away from a garden by hanging aluminum pie pans around the area and letting them swing and sway in the wind. I got six of them and put a few in the nearby trees and the rest in the garden area. For good measure, to make sure the deer could see the rope inside the fence barrier, I tied some white rag strips to the internal rope barriers. And there you have it: the Garden Fort Knox of the Dogpound.

As always, be good, do good, play safe, and remember, it may cost more money, but there is nothing like getting your hands dirty growing your own food.

– JR