Garden Pests

Creating a Removable Garden Fence

I’ve mentioned before that I have a real problem with keeping cats out of my garden. We have about a dozen feral cats roaming around and they love to use my garden beds as their litter box. Not only is it gross to have cat poop in your vegetable beds but it’s also unsafe due to toxoplasmosis. Furthermore they keep trampling on and digging up my seedlings.

I’ve tried many different methods to keep them out. I’ve covered the soil with ground netting – they definitely didn’t like it but were able to tear at it with their claws and work around it. I tried coffee, chili powder, rosemary oil, crushed egg shells, thorny rose bush clippings… all of these things would semi-work for a few days but eventually the cats would find a way around it and I’d be back to where I started. I even put out a large-critter trap with some tuna in it. My plan was to immediately release any cat I captured (thinking that being captured would be scary enough for the cat and it wouldn’t want to return) or to take any captured feral cat to a shelter. I never caught a cat, but ironically this method worked the best at keeping the cats away because some of them were scared of the trap…

This battle has been going on for over a year now. My husband finally got sick of the cats too and decided that he was putting an end to the nonsense. His idea required more time and money than any of mine but in the end it worked, so I’d say it was worth every penny and every minute of his time! The solution was to create a removable fence.

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garden beds with removable fence

My garden beds are 4′ x 8′ so he created 4-ft-long fencing panels to be assembled around the beds. I needed access to my plants so he constructed the fencing so that the panels could be easily removed. It’s really quite genius what he came up with. Below is one of the 4′ fencing panels.

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one 4-ft-long fencing panel

You can see that a single panel consists of a wooden frame around chicken wire. (He simply staple-gunned the chicken wire to the wooden frame.) Each panel also has two dowels nailed to it. These dowels are sized so that they nicely fit in some 1/2″ PVC pipe.

My husband bracketed sections of the PVC pipe to the interior side of my garden beds, as shown in the pictures below. The PVC is to remain permanently attached to the garden beds but the dowels are not attached to the PVC in any way. Thus the dowels can easily slide in (and out of) the PVC pipes so that the fencing panels can be attached (and removed) from the garden beds.

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The dowel of a fencing panel inserted into the PVC pipe that is bracketed to the interior of the garden bed. The dowel is not attached to the PVC pipe so it can easily be slid in and out of the PVC pipe.
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One fencing panel attached to the garden bed. Note the dowels of the panel have been slid into the PVC pipe that is bracketed to the interior of the garden bed.
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One fencing panel attached to the garden bed. It can be easily removed by simply lifting it out of the PVC pipes that the dowels sit in.

The removable fencing has worked beautifully! The pictures above are from when my husband first installed the fencing in the spring. Below is my garden today.

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my garden today with some of the fencing still in place

You can see that I removed the fencing from the front garden bed. The front garden bed is very full and it has left very little room for the cats to tromp around so they are keeping out of the front bed right now with or without the fencing.

You can also see that the back garden bed has a cover to the fencing. The cats would come up on the yard fence and then jump over the garden fence and do their business in the garden. (Determined little buggers aren’t they?!) So we had to create a cover by building more fencing panels (but without the dowels) and tying them to the side fence panels. Actually the back garden’s tomato plants are getting so big that I’m going to remove the cover panels soon and will even start considering removing the side panels.

Anyhow things have been much more successful with my husbands newest construction. Everything in the garden is growing very well, I’ve started getting flowers on many of my plants, and I’m looking forward to harvesting veggies soon! Have a great and relaxing weekend all!

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