Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Post  crofter79 on 1/4/2020, 10:31 am

Hi all,

My family and I just moved to our new home just outside Chicago after several years in southern Wisconsin (where I had a semi-successful experimental SFG). Been gardenless the last two years as we've been renting but now that we're homeowners again and have a big backyard with plenty of space I'm super excited to get my hands dirty again. 

In Wisconsin, I did a simple 4x4 made out of dimensional lumber with a trellis on the back. The first year only tomatoes and beans grew despite me planting just about everything I could find at the store. Year 2, I tweaked the soil and arranged the plants better and it just exploded. I would qualify it as a success, but literally the day before I planned to start harvesting stuff, the garden was destroyed by wildlife. I got up the next morning and there was nothing but a few stalks left. They ate/destroyed my tomatoes, carrots, radishes, beans, peas, and lettuce. 

That kind of made it easier to be in a rental house with no prospect of gardening, but after two years of only growing a few things inside I am SO ready to try again outside, but with a protective fence around the garden this time (including under ground) to keep the veggies safe. I already know it'll be a challenge as our property backs up to a forest preserve and in the five months we've lived here we've seen several deer and plenty of coyotes, so we know there's critters out there just waiting for a chance to ruin things again. But the yard is just begging for a garden, so here we go again!

Anyway, I look forward to learning everything I can (again!).
crofter79
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Post  countrynaturals on 1/4/2020, 12:54 pm

welcome Crofter, from Redding, CA! You've found the friendliest, most informative garden forum on the internet. good job!

How exciting to be starting everything brand new! happy dance

One thing I can tell you about Chicago weather is that it can change dramatically in a heartbeat. We worked at 6 Flags there one summer. It was 22 degrees one June Friday night before midnight and triple-digits by Monday afternoon. affraid 

We love pics. I love you  Before and after shot are our absolute faves. reading
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Post  OhioGardener on 1/4/2020, 1:28 pm

Welcome aboard, Crofter79!  Glad to have you here!   I was raised on a farm in NW Indiana, not far enough from Chicago, so I am familiar with that ares.  One thing we learned the hard way was to put 1/2" hardware cloth down on the ground before sitting the raised beds on them - we learned this after the gophers came up through every raised bed and destroyed most of the vegetables.  We had to dig out every raised bed, put down the 1/2" hardware cloth, and re-fill the beds - haven't had a gopher problem since.  We, too, have herds of deer roaming through our property, and we had to put up a 6' fence to keep them out of the gardens - don't like the looks of the fence, but do enjoy all of the fresh vegetables and fruit we harvest.  Very Happy 

This guy had the neatest idea for a deer-proof raised bed. If I were to build new ones, I would probably do something like this.

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Post  sanderson on 1/4/2020, 8:34 pm

OG, Would you be so kind as to make a new post with the video alone. Something like "Making a deer-proof raised garden." It was a long video, but the guy didn't bloviate like most long videos. Pure building technique. I love the tool for toeing-in the nails.

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Post  sanderson on 1/4/2020, 8:39 pm

Crofter,  Welcome to the Forum from California!  glad you\'re here  Have you had a chance to read "ALL NEW Square Foot Gardening," either the 3rd or the 2nd Edition?  

I think the trick to keeping out deer is to not have a safe landing spot inside the fence.  They won't risk a broken leg for some fresh veggies.  Happy gardening.  And, do keep us updated and post photos.  We love love photos. Very Happy

Check out the Search feature for some threads on Deer, squirrels, etc.

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/5/2020, 8:05 am

Hi Crofter79. Let me add a welcome from Atlanta, GA!
AtlantaMarie
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