Friday, May 17, 2013

How to Chicken Proof a Vegetable Garden


I love my vegetable garden, but unfortunately, so do the backyard chickens. After discovering that several of my favorite plants were also my chickens' favorites, I knew something had to give.


They ate all the leaves off of the soybeans and squished my squash plants....


took a good chunk out of my lettuce and kale...


and ate all the leaves off of my bush beans.
Not okay.

For a temporary fix I used all of the fencing and metal edging that I could find to keep them out. It worked for a while, but is definitely not a look I want to continue.


After looking into several options, i decided to go with this deer netting from Home Depot. I was able to order it online and they delivered it to my local store with no additional S&H. A $20 fix? Yes, please!


I cut some fence boards in half to make three foot long posts. Then I nailed them into the inside of the raised bed to create a frame.


The netting is 7 feet high so I doubled it over before connecting it to the frame. I wanted to still be able to access the garden, so I decided to make a separate section of removable netting between each of the framing posts. To do this I put a nail on each side of each piece of framing at the top, leaving the head sticking out about a quarter of an inch. I attached loops to the edge of the netting and hooked it over the head of the nails.
I repeated the same thing at the bottom of each piece of framing to keep the base taut. I made sure to overlap the edges by a few inches to leave no openings.


Now when I want to have access to the garden, I simply unhook the loops for that section and pull back the netting. And I can easily replace it when I am done.


 I need to watch how close the plants are to the edge, though. This hen is giving me her innocent eyes after eating a few leaves of a bush bean plant growing too close to the netting. "Who me?" she asks.


 The finished product turned out a lot better than I thought. It doesn't block sunlight from the plants, can be easily removed for garden access, it keeps out any critters, and it is hardly even noticeable!

And now the chickens and I are back to a happy co-existence :)