Recently I was taking with a friend who is looking for a new place to rent.  She needs a place that will accept her four cats and, hopefully, her chickens and that maybe will even have a small garden available for her use.  Or, at least allow her space to put in a couple of vegetable beds. ‘But, of course,’ she said, ‘if the property is not fenced against deer, I won’t be able to have a garden.’  I brightened up and told her she could put in a little garden with temporary fencing.  ‘Even just 8 x 8 will give you lots of growing space,’ I said.  She looked doubtful.

When I moved into my current property, I brought a lot of potted plants with me. They were all pushed together and loosely wrapped with wire fencing, but the deer were slowly nibbling their way through.  I then remembered that we had the 8 x 6 foot wire panels that we use for temporary chicken runs.  We currently had no chickens so I assembled four of the panels (one with a door) and thought I would then stuff it full of my plants.  It was June.  It was the first time in a decade that I did not have space for growing vegetables.  I stood at the entrance of this little fenced-in square and immediately imagined it with beds on three sides.  And a chipped path.  I set to work.

8x8 kitchen garden1 gabriola

Even though it was a bit late to be putting in a garden, I got tremendous pleasure over the next several months from this 8 x 8 space.  Five tomato plants went into the back bed with a couple of peppers tucked in front of them.  Cucumbers, lettuce, parsley, nasturiums filled the two side beds and small pots of marjoram, thyme and chives on a shelf.  Also I put up some cross pieces at the back corners which provided support for plastic over the tomatoes and allowed for some hanging baskets.  I placed a large pot in the corner and planted up the strawberries I had in small pots.  All I had to do was step through the wire door into this ‘garden’ and I was in a lush, green environment so unlike the barren, stoniness on the other side of the enclosure.  I was happy.

8x8 kitchen garden2 gabriola

And what about those other plants the deer were chomping their way through?  We properly wired off an area for them where they endured for a couple of years while we fenced in part of the property  and built the current kitchen garden.

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