Julie has had a garden now for a couple of years, but right from the start, groundhogs were a problem. They dug up and under the raised bed, wreaking havoc. They jumped into our true raised bed, which was about 2 feet off the ground. After many years of having a less than successful garden due to these pests, it was time for a change.
Julie attended a Saturday morning training session at Rodale on building raised garden bed frames. They provided detailed steps and let her practice with a partner. She brought home the plans and we started thinking about how many we wanted. We settled on 6 total in 2 rows of 3. We ripped out the one artificially raised bed entirely and pulled out the middle walkway of the other, but left it for potatoes and other plants that critters might leave alone. We rototilled a new area behind where the new raised beds were going (about 16′ x 24′) for corn. This is where it got interesting.
We rented a sod cutter and rolled up strips of sod two at a time. We laid down chicken wire on the exposed dirt, overlapping sections, and rolled the sod back overtop. This gave us our base to ensure groundhogs couldn’t come up from underneath.
Next, we built the 6 beds (4′ x 8′) and leveled them out by cutting out sections of sod that was already lifted from the sod cutter, leveling the dirt on the low side and filling in the gaps on each side. The raised beds were then placed on the chicken wire and were filled with dirt.
To build the fence, we stained over 50 planks of wood and stained and cemented in some 4″ x 4″ posts. We made fence sections to go in between the posts. The fence sections were frames built with rabbit fencing between. This required 10 frames to be built with 2 doors, one in the front, one in the back.
I tore up the sod under each frame as it went in, pulled up the chicken wire and leveled the dirt out. We then placed the chicken wire overtop of the leveled dirt and ensured it was right up to the fencing. This way, no critter could dig underneath the fence.
We just finished doing the touch up on the stain tonight, but it looks awesome. Hopefully our planning was well worth it, but only the season will tell!