Vegetables and Fruit forum: Newbie, south Alabama

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Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Apr 27, 2017 11:10 AM CST
(copied from the welcome forum...)
Howdy. My name is Ed and me an my wife are trying to start up a vegetable garden this year. We're located in south Alabama about 50 miles south of Montgomery in a rural area. We've grown some vegetables in the past, mostly tomatoes, some squash, and odds-n-ends in some 4x8 beds but that was a few years ago and it was hit-and-miss. I consider us as being rank newbies. Smiling

(New stuff... ;) )
We have tilled up a spot roughly 20x50 and currently planning on eight 3'x25' rows/beds. Regular garden vegetables...beans, peas, squash, tomatoes, okra, melons, greens, etc.,. We're hoping to go all heirloom/open-pollinated and save our seeds to tailor them to the soil. We also intend to institute a miniature crop rotation...maybe a 4-year rotation, two beds to the plant family.

This will be our largest gardening endeavor yet. The garden area is an old bahia grass pasture/hayfield that was taken in as part of our yard probably 10-12 years ago. The soil is sandy and tested acidic at pH5.5. I added 40 pounds of dolomitic lime about 3-4 weeks ago, tilled it in, and it's had several rains on it. Recommendations for fertilizer is 1-pound per 100sqft of 13-13-13 and a side-dress of 1.2 pounds...we haven't applied any of this yet. We would love to go organic, but looks like we're going to have to rely on petro-fertilizer to begin with, though I know I've got to get some organics into the soil if for no other reason than to improve the structure. I'm thinking of this year devoting several beds (maybe even half of them) to green manures.

We are getting a late start down here being as we've hit an obstacle....or, I should *lack* of one. We need a tall fence. Seems we have an over-abundance of deer. Since tilling the garden spot it appears that the deer are square dancing in it or either celebratory dancing from the news of a new buffet opening soon!<sigh> We have a fairly heavy deer load in the area. Thus, I've been trying to figure out some type of affordable fencing for it. I'm looking at giving us a 7' perimeter on three sides of the tilled area and a 12' perimeter on the fourth side so a pickup truck can back into the area. Rough dimensions are 35'x75' which results in roughly 220' of fencing and gates needed. I'm toying with several ideas at the moment.

Down the road, not so far off, I intend to install a simple irrigation system using emitter tape. But, gotta get a fence up first. Does anybody know of a company that would install a small amount of deer fencing in south Alabama...maybe in the Troy, Greenville, Andalusia triangle?

We've got some Mortage Lifter, Brandywine Red, and some Roma seedlings that will need a permanent home very soon along with some bell pepper plants. Gotta get a fence of some sort up!!!

Anyhow, that's my official introduction...it's good to be here. :)
Ed
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Apr 27, 2017 3:44 PM CST
Welcome! Ed, I could make suggestions for a fence but couldn't guarantee that it would keep deer out.
My way of fencing is cattle panels and steel T posts. I assemble it with zip ties so they can be easily cut if needed. The cattle panels are 16' long and about 4 foot tall. I suspect the deer could easily go over it but I have dogs in the yard that are a deterrent to deer.
I'm not sure what would be the best solution but I'm sure you'll get many suggestions.
Good luck with your garden plans too. Hurray!
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Apr 27, 2017 3:50 PM CST
Welcome! to NGA Ed Welcome! Welcome!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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Weedwhacker
Apr 27, 2017 7:34 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, Ed ( @intheswamp ).

For the tomatoes that you need to get planted -- you could just put individual wire fencing cages around them to keep the deer from getting to them.

For the garden in general, you might want to consider something like this "snow fence" (also used on construction sites a lot), which is pretty inexpensive and seems to be sold everywhere: https://www.homedepot.ca/en/ho...

Rather than fencing the entire garden, you might have better luck fencing off smaller planting areas; deer don't seem to be very inclined to jump over a fence into a small space.

Best of luck with your gardening endeavor! One other thing for you to consider is adding some hybrids to your OP varieties; in my experience, at least, OP vegetables can be more difficult (more prone to disease and so on) and less productive, which can be pretty frustrating. Smiling
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Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Apr 28, 2017 6:56 AM CST
Thanks for the welcome, ya'll! I'm looking forward to planting and working the plants. What I'm not having fun doing is figuring out the deer protection.

Pod, I have considered cattle panels and still haven't ruled them out. I would want another 4' layer of wire of some kind above them, though...bamboo poles come to mind as t-post extensions. The second layer could be lightweight chicken-wire...the cattlepanels would handle the nosing and pushing down low. The mobility of the panels are definitely a plus, too. Later, if I opted for a different fence the panels could be used for arbors, trellises, etc.,.

Thanks for the welcome, Vic!!!

Thanks for the ideas, Weedwhacker. Yeah, we've pretty much gotta have a tall fence. The deer around here are regular pole-vaulting Olympiads.<sigh> I've looked at different fence options...double fences, 7-wire electric, leaning/slanted, etc., and determined the most simple and (hopefully) secure fence will be an upright 8' tall barrier. I'm looking at regular welded wire, woven wire, and the poly deer fence material. I'm not so sure about the poly stuff...doesn't seem it would last too many years. I'm figuring on 4x4 corners with t-posts in the field. I've got a small electric fence box I could offer some peanut butter treats to the deer with to send them a friendly message to begin with and to add some protection at the bottom of the fence.

The tomato cages may be the way to go for now. I really need to till the area again to erase the deer tracks...you can't take a step in the tilled area without stepping on a deer track.<sigh> Also, I'd like to lay the beds and paths out, but maybe this year I need to just do what I can do and put cages around things and work on the fence "as I can".

Ww, I'm not married to the OP idea, but won't to head that direction...hybrids aren't completely ruled out...we'll see where this adventure leads us. Thumbs up

Thanks again for the welcome, everybody!!!
Ed
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Apr 28, 2017 8:16 AM CST
I get very good results with 6 foot high welded wire.
The farmers supply store hereabouts sells it in hundred foot rolls all day long for $130 tax included....
Personally, I like to string it along the tree line, where it kinda disappears from sight... Plus, it makes it harder for the deer to see it... Takes a bit more wire, but.... Worth it...
I usually purchase 2 rolls at a time, and then save up $ for more later....
Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Apr 28, 2017 12:54 PM CST
Hey stone. Thanks for the feedback on the 6' wire. I'm just undecided. Seems the standard recommendation is 8' and I'd hate to put in a lot of work and come out one morning to everything mauled by deer.<sigh> 6' welded wire could always be topped with a 2' strip of chicken wire or even 2-3 strands of hot wire...might not even need them to be hot...tie some cloth tags to them. The garden is located on top of a small, flat-topped hill between the top terraces of and old field...no trees close by to camouflage a fence with, but I'm not to much worried about how it will end up looking. I'm no builder so I know it'll look thrown together no matter what I do!<grin>

I went by the co-op yesterday to find out what folks do around here for deer fences. The answer I got was a single strand of electric tape about knee high. Then an offer to sell me an electric fence "kit" for a price I couldn't refuse. I saw "D-Cell Batteries" stated on the side of the box as the dust covering the label on the top of the box could be seen was scrubbed away. I didn't wait for the price....I was a little disappointed in the info that I came away with.<sigh>

What about the poly deer fence material? I've seen guesstimates of it's longevity to be 8-10 years. I can handle t-posts and zip-ties. The problem is I'll be pushing 70 years old in ten years and hopefully still gardening but I'm not so sure about putting another fence up then. I think I'd rather have metal but the poly would be a lot easier...if it works. That 6' fence of yours is still on my mind, though.

Looks like the armadillos are getting back to digging the yard up.<grrrrrr> I'll have to start making rounds each night with a flashlight and shotgun. Hmm, that reminded me of an old Jim Stafford song...

Ed

South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Apr 28, 2017 3:17 PM CST
Ed, the need for an 8-foot fence is the reason I suggested fencing in smaller, individual planting areas; you could use something 4' tall for that and the deer would be very unlikely to jump into the smaller enclosed areas. (I have a 2-1/2-foot fence around my garden, mainly to keep rabbits and my own dogs out; I also have a lot of different "structures" inside the garden area, trellises around the margins for growing pole beans and such, a "hoop trellis" for growing squash, a 7x15 hoop house, and then a larger greenhouse. Other than occasionally at the very end of the growing season, if I don't get my carrots and beets harvested soon enough, I have no problems with deer -- even though we live in the middle of a cedar swamp and have plenty of them around.)

Not saying you shouldn't do the taller fence around the whole thing, by any means; but the amount of work and expense would be considerably less by doing the smaller areas, at least IMO. Smiling
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Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Apr 29, 2017 10:22 AM CST
I think I have a problem...I tend to over-research, over-study, and get to balled up in the process. I got aggravated the other day just trying to get the area square. Ah well, I'd better get over it or we'll be having a harvest dinner of frozen pizza and nothing will have been planted in the garden.

I had resigned myself into putting in 10' t-posts and the poly netting. Then (maybe a blessing?) I found that 10' t-posts are not available in my area...not at HD, Lowes, TSC, or my local co-op. So, I'm thinking of going with 8' posts and 4' field wire (something like this: oh well, tried to link to some field fencing at TSC, but you probably know what I'm thinking about...330' for around $160). I've got a bunch of rebar left over from an old project that I could cut up in four-foot pieces and bend a 45-degree bend into them. Lash these pieces of rebar to the t-posts facing outward and string maybe three strands of electric poly tape along the top edge of the field wire and the overhanging extension. This would create a solid barrier along the bottom four feet and then a electrified obstacle along with a 3-dimensional, overhanging-look at the top.

Then again I thought about just running 2-3 strands of upright electric fence around the perimeter and hope for the best...but, we really have a large deer population around here.

Weedwhacker, I'm thinking aboutf what you're saying about the smaller parcels. If nothing else simply temporarily fence off an area to get the tomatoes and peppers planted in. Other things could be planted and surrounded by large hoops of wire. That way I'd have things growing and not be rushed to finalize my bed/row layout nor the fencing. It would definitely give me more time to agonize over the monstrosity that I'll probably end up erecting. Rolling my eyes. I think you're finally getting through this thick bonehead of mine. Thank You!
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Apr 29, 2017 11:57 AM CST
Intheswamp said:
Weedwhacker, I'm thinking aboutf what you're saying about the smaller parcels. If nothing else simply temporarily fence off an area to get the tomatoes and peppers planted in. Other things could be planted and surrounded by large hoops of wire. That way I'd have things growing and not be rushed to finalize my bed/row layout nor the fencing. It would definitely give me more time to agonize over the monstrosity that I'll probably end up erecting. Rolling my eyes. I think you're finally getting through this thick bonehead of mine. Thank You!


Hilarious! I'm just worried that you're going to spend your entire growing season designing and constructing a fence instead of gardening!

Another easy way to keep the deer (as well as birds, cats, etc.) out of things is to cover it with "floating row cover" (Reemay, Agribond, and lots of other brands). Use garden staples to pin it down every few feet - and, of course, make sure there's enough room under it for the plants to grow freely. This also works great for keeping newly planted seeds from getting washed out of the ground by rain, and can keep things like cabbage butterflies from laying their eggs on the plants. And the white color, flopping in the breeze, seems to be at least somewhat scary to deer. Smiling

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Apr 29, 2017 9:46 PM CST
I saw your message earlier today during a short break but just now responding. I had the hardest time finding this message again...I'm new to NGA and don't know my way around good yet. I looked and looked and looked and simply could not find it, though. I thought something had really gone crazy. Then I realized I was trying to find it on a completely different forum. D'Oh!

Did I mention it was warm today? Nice breezy, got up to around 87F. I spent all afternoon scurrying around on my knees pulling little giblets of bahia grass out of the tilled garden. This is the third and final serious grass grubbing I'm doing. I think now I'll have a fighting chance keeping the weeds and grass fought back from the plants (when I finally get them planted). I think I'll run over the ground shallowly with the tiller and somewhat lay the rows/beds off so that I'll get the vegetables that I plant will be close to the proper area.

I looked behind the storage shed to see what fencing material I had left from previous projects and found a roll of 48" 2x4 welded wire. I'm not sure how much is on it but it hasn't been used...I counted about 32 layers of rolled wire. There's also some coated (green) 48" wire that I think I will use to fence the mini-plots with if there is enough there...even got some short 4-foot t-posts, they'll be a little short but they'll work for the mini-fencing. Smiling

I also watched a Youtube video a little earlier that was about a double electric fence called the Mega Fence. This apparently was recorded at either an Alabama or Florida farmer's conference. The interesting thing was that it was filmed probably 75 miles from me in a heavily deer populated area. The fence worked for both hogs and deer. This would be about the simplest setup for me. The inside fence has three strands of wire/tape at 18", 36", and 54". The outer fence has a single wire/tape at 18". The fences run parallel with each other with a 3' space between them. I'd rather have an 8' tall physical barrier but this one is highly regarded and there are other's similar that are reported to work, too.

Ah well, if nothing else I'll have the small fences up and something in the ground soon...if I don't keep running around in circles trying to figure out a fence. Smiling

Ed
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Apr 29, 2017 10:35 PM CST
Ed -- with regard to finding your way back to a thread... go to your profile (click on the icon in the upper right corner), under site preferences make sure you have "watch threads that you start" and "watch threads that you reply to" checked as "yes." Then they should show up on your home page. Also, if you haven't done so, you can customize your home page - scroll down to just above the section where the NGA logo appears. If you need help with any of that, just ask -- no need to struggle with finding stuff! Smiling
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Apr 29, 2017 10:42 PM CST
No, what I meant was that I was on an entirely different website!!!!! (I thought I heard the theme to "The Twilight Zone" playing in the background when I was trying to find the message. Blinking )

Ed
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Cat Lover Dog Lover Vermiculture Birds Bulbs
Canning and food preservation Butterflies Composter Bromeliad Bookworm Greenhouse
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pod
Apr 30, 2017 6:58 AM CST
Weedwhacker said:Ed -- with regard to finding your way back to a thread... go to your profile (click on the icon in the upper right corner), under site preferences make sure you have "watch threads that you start" and "watch threads that you reply to" checked as "yes." Then they should show up on your home page. Also, if you haven't done so, you can customize your home page - scroll down to just above the section where the NGA logo appears. If you need help with any of that, just ask -- no need to struggle with finding stuff! Smiling

I'm not real new here and I still learn things... Thank You! Sandy!

No, what I meant was that I was on an entirely different website!!!!! (I thought I heard the theme to "The Twilight Zone" playing in the background when I was trying to find the message. )

Ed

Rolling on the floor laughing Needed that laugh this a.m. Ed ~ Green Grin! Bad storms coming your way if they hadn't already made it. They rolled through here overnite.
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Apr 30, 2017 7:25 AM CST
Hilarious!
Maybe Dave can somehow make all other websites link back to NGA! Big Grin
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities[/I] / Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
Image
Intheswamp
Apr 30, 2017 8:01 AM CST
Glad you could use the chuckle, Pod. And thanks for the heads'up about the storms. Any damage in the area from them? It looks like they're predicting a couple of inches of rain for tonight along with some high winds. We get kind of jumpy around here now when storms come through that are noted as being strong. April 3rd we had a weak tornado or some type of straight-line wind come through our little town. It really trashed up the downtown area and a couple of residential areas. I had a neighbor's roof come through the bay doors of my little tire shop and a warehouse my family owns was heavily damaged/destroyed from it. Still haven't got things glued back together yet. Thank God, no one was injured in it all!!!

Now, don't get me wrong, I like a good storm...just not a damaging one!!!! It looks like those storms have moved in to far west Mississippi now. I'll be on the lookout for this one... I'm all ears!

Ed
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Cat Lover Dog Lover Vermiculture Birds Bulbs
Canning and food preservation Butterflies Composter Bromeliad Bookworm Greenhouse
Image
pod
Apr 30, 2017 9:25 AM CST
I didn't have more than about 6 inches of lightning & thunder with some rain. Three miles away hail wiped out gardens. No tornados here (they were to the north) but lots of wind and deadfall to clean up. I'm glad no major damage ~ stay safe!
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
Image
Intheswamp
May 1, 2017 5:41 AM CST
Lots of devastation in your state, very sad. Ya'll be safe down there!!! We just had (Monday morning) a storm come through to the south of us with supposedly 60mph winds and small hail...not sure what the outcome of that will be.

Ed
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
Image
Intheswamp
May 1, 2017 6:17 PM CST
Ok,...back to the fence. :)

I've about decided on the double electric fence. Now I'm looking at a charger for it. I've about decided on the Parmak MAG12-UO that is 12-volt, battery powered. I have a solar panel I'm going to use with it. Does anyone know anything about "State Line Tack"...they've got a good price on the charger but I've seen some disparaging reviews regarding them. Any vendor recommendations?

Thanks,
Ed
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
May 2, 2017 5:09 AM CST
For what it is worth, I have a 6' tall shadow box fence around the entire back yard and the local white tail deer have never jumped it in 30 years. They just don't know what is on the other side.

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