Spring is always a time of new projects around any small farm or garden. Several years ago we put in a berry garden to grow blackberries and strawberries. Since that time we have added a secondary strawberry garden and have planted raspberries. This original garden is still going strong and the blackberries produce each year alternating between a bountiful harvest and a modest one. Since this first garden we have gone on building a gate for many more on our little farm.
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Building a Fence
Time to put up the fence and build the gate to protect the area we had prepared for the berry garden. Thanks to our trip to The Home Depot we had everything we needed to get the job done. You can see the trip and get a shopping list. The first step involved digging the holes for the gate posts.
1. Dig a small hole.
2. Use post hole digger to go down about 2 feet so the posts (4x4x8 Cedar Post) will be in securely.
3. Put the gate post in the hole and fill in with dirt.
We were lucky in that we were putting our berry garden next to one of our goat pens so we only had to fence three sides. We could use the goat pen as the fourth side. This meant that hubby didn’t have to pound as many fence posts as if he had to do all four sides. I was happy for him – the man has put in a LOT of fencing since we started our little adventure here in Montana.
He connected the fence from the existing goat pen to the first gate post, and then he only had to pound fence posts for one side – the section from the second gate post to the end of the berry garden. He could then go from the last fence post back to the goat pen.
They are spaced around 5 feet apart. He just shoves them into the dirt and then uses his “fence post pounder” to well, pound them in. He bought 7′ fence posts for 5′ fence.
Then it was time to add the fencing (5′ Steel Welded Wire Fencing).
1. He brought it from the goat fence to the first gate post and cut it. Then he went to the second gate post.
2. He made sure it was very securely attached.
3. He then rolled it out to the fence posts and used fence clips to attach it.
4. All the way around until he hit the goat pen fence.
To make the gate he used the wood: 6 pine 1x4x6s
He measured twice (!) and cut once to make a gate that is 6′ x 3′.
After cutting the pieces he put it together.
1. Build the frame
2. Add a cross piece for support
3. Cut fence to fit.
4. Build the frame again on top of the fence.
He then attached the gate to the gate post with the 4″ heavy duty zinc hinges and zinc 1″ wood screws and attached the latch. The latch has a pull wire so when we are inside the gate can be closed. To open it the wire just needs to be pulled. Very convenient if the goats happen to be out grazing.
The gate is very sturdy. He has built several of these; on the garden, the new herb garden and in the barn. The project took him two half days (8hrs) – I’m sure you can tell that the weather is different in the photos.
The first day of the weekend he did the exact same project – except he had to fence all the way around – so I can have an herb garden. The second day, when he finished the berry garden he did a fair bit of the work in the rain! He is one dedicated DIY man.
Ready for Planting
Now the berry garden is ready to go! It just needs berry plants. Well, more berry plants. The strawberry starts our neighbors gave us are in there but there is room for so much more! We are just waiting for the plants to arrive at our Home Depot in Missoula.
The weather here in Montana has been so crazy that planting is going to be interesting this year. We have had freeze warnings all this week. What a way to welcome May!
The berry garden will be safe from deer and goats. We think the holes in the fence are too small for rabbits but if we find we are having problems we have plenty of chicken wire so we will just add a row of it around the bottom. If birds prove problematic we can just add netting over the top. It’s our first year for berries so it will most definitely be a learning year.
You can check out the finished garden and a video of how to plant blackberries.