Free Ranging the Produce

Seems like no matter where you live, everyone loves fresh produce. This is true of our quadrupedal friends too. I bet no matter where you grow, the local wildlife makes gardening a challenge on some level. I keep trying to figure out how to plant a vegetable garden that does more than supplement the dietary life of the local rabbits and deer. I can see the neighbors have concluded the same – you have to lock up the veg lest the beasts dine.

If you somehow missed Wallace & Gromit in their adventure The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, you need to watch the preview and fetch a copy right away. When you’ve finished you’ll have a better understanding of the havoc that fluffy bunny can wreak.

Most of my neighbors have enclosed garden plots surrounded by six foot wire fences. For the most part this does deter the deer from browsing through the squash but on occasion someone wakes up to find they’ve captured a doe who hopped the fence and couldn’t get back out. The sweet beast stares happily through the wire, great big brown eyes glistening with tears of delight as she mows through the strawberries and rhubarb. Obviously the utilitarian approach produces mixed results. Mostly I balk at installing a minimum security facility on the property…what might the neighbors think?

Does incarcerated produce taste the same as free range? I can’t find any statistics.

The reality is that without some form of barrier we won’t squish a single tomato or nibble a leaf of basil. I miss working in the garden and transferring some of that joy into the kitchen. In order to have the best of both worlds and still allow the wildlife to cruise through the yard, I’ve decided to take a new approach. Visually it’s a bit reminiscent of old-fashioned cemetary plots.

Since we have a number of tiny buildings scattered around the property, my thought was to implement a cottage garden effect and fence selective areas. The benefits would be three-fold: foil easy access for the wildlife through decorative fencing, aesthetic improvement to feast the eyes, and potential vegetables to grace the dinner table.

Alas, it is not to be…not enough sun exposure. Fear not. The cemetary plan continues…only now it will look even more like  a graveyard with a pretty fence and raised beds so I can combat the undergrowth without having to mow around everything.

Do any of you fine people have experience with this problem? Have you found a solution other than buying veg at the market? If deer sprout wings or learn to levitate it will happen here first…

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