How much square footage should I fence off (to protect from deer) for a [self-sufficiency] vegetable garden for my family of five? Thank You Sir, - P.L., near Eugene, Oregon
JWR Replies: As a scant minimum, I'd recommend a 25' x 30' garden plot. By using French Intensive (double dug) or Square Foot Gardening techniques, you can get a huge yield out of that much garden space. But if you have the acreage available and can afford the extra fencing material, then by all means make your fenced garden plot two or three times that size. This has several advantages. First, you will have room to maneuver a tractor. Using a tractor disc will save you a tremendous amount of labor, especially the first year that you develop the garden. Secondly, the extra garden space can be used to grow extra crops for barter and charity. You never know how many relatives will show up on your doorstep on TEOTWAWKI+1.
Even if you don't have the time or the inclination to build and oversize garden fence now, at least buy the materials for fencing a big garden in the future--when such supplies may be difficult to obtain.