outside of putting in a fence...
how do I keep animals from eating my veggies? We planted tomatoes, basil, peppers, beans, cucumbers and eggplant. So far, the bunnies or some animal ate the cucmber and bean plants! The whole plant! We are amatuer gardeners. This is actually our first garden and we just planted these things in a small patch in our front yard. We really don't want to put in a fence, but I would like to protect our garden. Or, if we do need a fence, what is the best kind? We need something not to unsightly since it would be in the front yard. thanks.
The cheapest way we've found to protect our garden is to use flexible conduit, rebar, and netting all available at your local Home Depot-type store. The netting is under $20 for a 7'x100' roll (enough to cover a lot of beds!), the 1" conduit runs about $1/10' stick, and the rebar (I think) was around $2/2' length.Here's a photo: http://www.chow.com/photos/378897?tag...
That's a raised bed in the photo but we did this with our regular beds as well. While you can see the conduit hoops the netting itself all but disappears. We drove the rebar into the ground, bent the hoops over it, cut pieces of netting to match the arch of the hoops on the end and attached that with zip ties. The netting was then rolled out length wise over the bed and attached with those giant binder clips with "wings" (Office Max). The bottom of the netting is anchored with rocks. When we want to work the bed we simply unclip the netting at the bottom and drape it on top and clip it out of the way. Very handy. We can water right through the netting. We estimated it would have cost nearly $800 to fence our gardens and orchard. This alternative did the whole shebang for around $90. All the parts are in their second year of use and holding up well.
Some people on this board will say that the netting doesn't stop critters but we live in a rural setting and this has stopped deer, rabbits, raccoons, groundhogs, and the neighbors' labs cold. We're very pleased with it.
We make a make shift fence of chicken wire and posts (to keep the chicken wire upright). We did this for one month until the animals learned that they couldn't get to the food and now took it down. It was about 3' high. In the past, we have also used snow fence since we had it in our garage (this would not be attractive in the least though for you). I have seen people put in shorter chain link fences with gates and keep it there permanently. It actually did not look bad, especially the ones I have seen painted dark green or black.
The house we had in NY had a single length of chain link fence across the back of the property. The previous owners were cranky farts that didn't like the kids sledding down the hill into their yard. Since the kids had grown we left the fence up and I used it as a trellis for tomatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, anything that vined and would go vertical. It hid the eyesore of the fence and was useful at the same time. A few of the beans and peas poked through on the back side but most all of the veggies stayed on our side.
I expanded my garden last year with a couple of 4'x4' raised beds outside my fenced vegetable garden. To deter the rabbits and chipmunks infesting the neighborhood I made covers from some leftover wire fencing, adding some bird netting around the base to keep out the critters. You might also try self-watering containers like the earthbox. I have six, both commercial and home-made, filled with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and broccoli. They are about 8 to 12 inches high and evidently high enough that nothing has bothered them.
This year I also added some tomatoes and peppers to the unfenced area. I put some 6-inch chickenwire cylinders around the base when I transplanted them into the ground, and so far I have not had any varmint losses.
Both Morwen's and Donshirer's garden receive so much sun. Looks awesome, how do you keep the grass alive, my grass died because I visit my garden 3-4 time a day? I haven't had any rabbit problems, I think the raised beds the trick for me.
I noticed your trees are short, the trees in my area are huge, most at least 2.5 stories high.