This is a tough narrative to write, seeing as how we have a foot of snow on the ground, winds are gusting to 50 mph and it’s -15 or so with wind chill. I wanted to get pictures of our high tunnel and the world outside for an interesting juxtaposition, but that would require leaving my house which I refuse to do!
Because the weather has been so unpredictable and the resort is still open and going strong (meaning everyone is working overtime) our Grow gardening is really still on hold. I did receive a donation in the early winter of many seed starting trays, pots, seed starting mix, irrigation supplies and seeds with some unusual varieties. Hopefully things will warm up enough to get all of those things prepped for a planting party to be held soon! Additionally, we have put out fliers in the town of Valley Head looking for home gardeners. We have a goal of 8 home gardens, and we have 3 confirmed participants so far. It may come down to knocking on doors! Also, on a positive front, we have a whole slew of Snowshoe employees who are interested in the community garden this summer. I am looking forward to teaching some younger people how to grow their own food!
Unfortunately, that’s all the update I have for now! In the meantime, I pulled this article on effective fencing (some great ideas here) from the WVU Extension Service IPM Chronicle: Vol. 4 Iss.3 Summer 2016:
Growing a garden can be a rewarding project. But when intrusive wildlife appear, gardening can become challenging. Fencing is the most efficient and cost effective method to exclude unwanted wildlife from small gardens. The extent of the invasive wildlife and the amount of money you are willing to spend directly affects your choice of fence design and materials.
White-tailed deer are the most commonly reported cause of garden damage. In areas where deer populations and damage are low, an electric fence with a single wire 30 inches off the ground can deter deer from your garden (Figure 14). To make the single-strand electric fence more effective, smear peanut butter on 3-by- 4 inch flags of foil and attach these to the fence every 3 to 4 feet. The peanut butter will attract deer to the fence, then they will touch the flags with their nose or mouth in an attempt to eat it. The resulting shock will provide adverse conditioning. Replacing the foil flags and peanut butter with strips of cloth soaked with an odor-based deer repellent is another alternative.
Small- and medium-sized mammals such as rabbits, woodchucks (groundhogs), voles and moles can also cause significant damage to gardens. To exclude medium-sized mammals, a fence of heavy poultry wire or 2-inch mesh woven wire is effective. The fence should extend at least 3 feet above ground and be buried to a depth of 10 to 12 inches below ground to prevent burrowing beneath. Woodchucks are good climbers and can climb over wire fences. Bending the top 12 to 15 inches of wire outward at a 45 degree angle will help prevent this. Adding a single-wire electric fence 4 to 5 inches above ground and 4 to 5 inches outside the mesh fence will also help prevent animals from climbing over.
A fence built to the specifications for woodchucks, but using a smaller diameter mesh, will provide protection against smaller mammals like rabbits, voles and moles. Consider using woven wire or poultry wire with a mesh opening no larger than 1 inch for rabbits. Voles and moles will require rolls of sheet metal or hardware cloth with mesh openings ¼ inch or smaller. If you add the single-wire electric fence with peanut butter or repellent above the lower mesh fence, you will effectively exclude both deer and smaller mammals, saving the garden all for yourself.
Here’s the link: http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/pests/publications