Garden Posts

The weather has been crappy the last few days but I still went out in the yard and worked most of my weekend out back. This weekend’s project has been establishing the vegetable garden. With all the deer and other critters around the property we need some sort of fence to keep them out of the veggie part of the garden. I decided to erect a four foot tall fence around our 20′ x 40′ rectangular garden plot.  Technically to keep deer out the fence has to be something like eleven feet tall but I’m not putting that high a fence in our garden.  If four feet isn’t enough then I’ll revise it in the future. My theory is that there is so many other good things to nibble on that the deer will hardly know we have a garden in the first place. 

I was going to use natural tree branches as the fence posts to add a bit of rustic aesthetic to the back yard, and save money since I could create them from down timber we have on site.  I awoke Saturday, got bundled up and went out to the septic field to gather tree branches, logs, and trunks that were all about three inches in diameter and six feet long.  I cut nearly a dozen by hand and dragged them to the garden.  They looked okay but eventually they’d rot so after some more thought I decided to go with treated 4×4 posts. Plus I knew there was a 4×4 post I wanted to use for he berry patch. I had one crooked twelve footer left over from construction, so I hauled it into my shop and proceeded to copy a style of post I saw online, at the Chicago botanical gardens.  I made two and they’ll be used to train my raspberries and blackberries. At that point I finalized my decision that all the posts in the  rest of the garden should be 4×4’s as well. We drove up to Lowes and loaded up four more twelve footers on top of the RAV4. The rack flexed but held and we got our posts home.  I then cut them to six feet long; the corner posts with a 45 degree house themed angle at the top, and the intermediate posts just with a square cut.

I read up on using treated posts for gardening and decided to wrap the bottom of my posts in plastic that we had leftover from the house build, the same 6 mil stuff from under the cement slabs. They treat post lumber now with a chemical composed of a lot of copper.  In the past (before 2003 or so) they were treated with arsenic. Research shows that they are a lot safer now, but you still have to landfill the dust and leftover boards and cutoffs, and the posts shouldn’t be near plants you intend to eat, especially root plants like carrots or beets.  Organic farmers aren’t even allowed to used treated posts. A good alternative is cedar, or other naturally resistant woods, but I don’t have the cash nor a readily available supply of that type of material so I did the next best thing. By wrapping the bottoms in plastic the wood doesn’t come in contact with soil, where the copper can leach out into the roots of plants. As an added level of defense most of the posts have concrete around them between the plastic and soil.  In some articles regular people worried about plastic contamination but I don’t think it’s an issue.  I’d rather it was plastic than metal contamination.  Generally speaking I think plastic is better and less risky.  

So I have all the posts set.  Next will be fencing in the coming weeks.  While at Lowes thirteen little baby green velvet boxwoods followed me home today. They were so cute and at four dollars apiece how could I resist.  I planted them, per the plan, over by the orchard. Also next up on the chore list is planting wild flowers.  We have a ton of seeds and a lot of big areas to rough up and plant them in.  Tomorrow should be nice so I think I’ll sneak out in the morning to wrap up a few things outside.

The wife started all her seedlings today too.  She did a really cool thing and put all the seedlings in empty clear storage bins we had lying around.  Turned upside down and placed on a window sill they create a half dozen little greenhouses for her seedlings.  Very cool idea she had.  

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