Have you embarked on the wonderful journey of vegetable gardening? Perhaps you've already put in hours of sweat and effort, preparing the soil, sowing the seeds, and nurturing your growing plants. Now you want to protect your labor of love from outside invaders like rabbits, deer, or even the neighbor's curious cat. This is where choosing the right fence comes into play.
The right fence will protect your vegetable garden and make your garden and your property look unified. But how do you decide which fence is best for you?
Do You Have Deer?
If you live in a region where deer are prevalent, you're likely no stranger to the havoc these graceful creatures can wreak on a vegetable garden. They are agile jumpers and voracious eaters, and a casual stroll through your garden can result in significant damage to your carefully tended plants.
That’s why determining if you need to deter deer is crucial for picking a vegetable garden fence. The height of your fence is key. Deer can jump with ease, so a fence designed to deter them needs to be both robust and tall. We recommend a fence that is at least 6 feet high.
However, it's not just about keeping the deer out. While it may be tempting to get a fence with pointed pickets or other potentially harmful deterrents, a deer that attempts to jump a fence and lands on pointed pickets can sustain serious injury or even be killed. You do not want to find a dead deer on your fence. Instead, look for fences with a smooth top edge that will deter deer without harming them.
Wood Fences for Vegetable Gardens
The warm, natural aesthetics of wood fences appear at first to be one of the best options for a vegetable garden. One of the significant benefits of wood fencing is its versatility. With a ton of styles, heights, and finishes available, wood fences can be tailored to suit your specific aesthetic.
However, as attractive as wood fencing might seem, it carries a significant drawback for vegetable gardens. Many types of wood fencing are treated with chemicals to enhance their durability and resistance to rot and pests. These chemicals can potentially leach into the soil of your vegetable garden. This is a concern because vegetables may uptake these chemicals, contaminating your homegrown produce.
You can look for codes from the wood manufacturer. These codes indicate the chemicals used in the wood treatment process. Certain chemicals are more likely to leach into the soil and pose a risk to your garden's safety. Pressure-treated wood is not allowed for garden fencing in some states.
Given this potential risk and the difficulty of ascertaining the chemicals in wood, we generally recommend against using wood fencing for vegetable gardens.
A Vinyl Vegetable Protector?
If you're seeking a low-maintenance, durable option for your vegetable garden fencing, you might be looking at vinyl fences.
One of the main selling points of vinyl fencing is that it’s low maintenance. Unlike wood, vinyl does not rot, warp, or suffer from insect damage. Vinyl fences also resist the elements. You don’t have to worry about UV rays and harsh weather conditions with a vinyl fence.
However, there is a notable downside to vinyl fencing. Most vinyl fences block sunlight and airflow, which are crucial for the growth and health of your plants. While there are vinyl fence options that allow for better light and air penetration, like our post and rail vinyl fences, these designs would be worse protection against animals.
Because of this, we only recommend vinyl fencing for larger vegetable gardens. In a bigger garden, the fence's impact on sunlight and airflow is lessened.
Aluminum is an Excellent Choice
An aluminum fence is a great choice for a vegetable garden. If you live in an area with high humidity or heavy rainfall, they are highly resistant to corrosion. Aluminum fence withstands what Mother Nature can throw at it remarkably well, providing long-lasting protection for your garden.
Aluminum fencing is lightweight, so it’s easy to install. That saves time and labor costs, making it a cost-effective choice for DIY gardeners or those on a budget.
Like vinyl fencing, aluminum fences are also low maintenance. They don't require painting, staining, or regular upkeep to maintain their appearance and strength.
While aluminum fences boast several benefits, one potential drawback is their inability to deter smaller pests due to their wide railings. However, this can be easily addressed by combining the aluminum fence with chicken wire or a similar material.
We recommend our 6x6 Bradford aluminum fences backed with chicken wire as one of the top options for your vegetable garden.
Chain Link Can Work for You
When it comes to finding a practical, cost-effective fencing solution for your vegetable garden, chain link fences should be on your radar. Chain link fences, when paired with chicken wire, can provide an excellent barrier against animals.
Chain link fences are typically the most budget-friendly option available in the market. Despite their affordability, they don't compromise on quality or durability.
Chain link fences are robust and long-lasting. They can withstand harsh weather conditions, and this durability means less worry about fence repair or replacement. The open nature means you don’t have to worry about your plants getting less air or sunlight.
While tall chain link fences are effective against larger animals, they may not keep out smaller critters. This is where we recommend chicken wire again. By backing your chain link fence with chicken wire, you can create a barrier against smaller animals like rabbits and rodents without sacrificing sunlight.
One important thing to note during installation is the orientation of the fence's "knuckle." Chain link fences have sharp wire endings at the bottom, which can potentially injure animals attempting to jump the fence if they are installed incorrectly with the knuckle on the bottom. To avoid this, ensure the "knuckle" or the bent end of the fence is on top.