We have found that an electric fence is a vital part in the success of our garden. Previous years have shown us that a wide array of pests will make themselves at home in our garden if it is left wide open. An electric fence does not keep everything out, but it certainly helps!
I had absolutely no clue how to install an electric fence until we needed to do so during our first year of gardening. We Started Our Seeds Indoors, worked hard to Harden Off Those Same Seedlings, and tackled many garden-prep chose such as Letting Our Chickens Till Our Garden. There was no way I wanted to risk losing everything to pests! So, thanks to my husband, I learned how to install an electric fence for the very first time.
An electric fence can be the difference between a successful garden crop for the mouths of your family…or the local pests. Here you will find a basic guide to installing an electric fence. This is a great place to begin learning about setting up an electric fence on your own! I also encourage you to read the manufacturing instructions that come with an electric fence kit for more information on your specific fence system. You’ll find more gardening information at the very end of this post as well!
Benefits of an Electric Fence
We utilize an electric fence for the garden in order to keep as many pests out as we can.
For example, last year, before we found the time to install the fence, our neighboring herd of cattle broke loose and paraded through my garden of young plants. Oh, how I had wished we installed that fence sooner!
Cattle aren’t the only pests we need to keep at bay around here. Possums love munching on tomatoes, raccoons eat anything, deer really enjoy sweet corn, and rabbits, though adorable, will eat a patch of lettuce or radishes to the bones. You get the idea.
Electric fences won’t keep all pests out of the garden, but they certainly won’t hurt as an extra security measure!
How to Set Up an Electric Fence
Set the Charger
There are two types of chargers that you can use to power your electric fence: solar and electric charge. The solar charge is a good option if who live in an area with abundant sunlight since it can save some money on your electrical bill.
- Make sure to place the solar charger in an area that receives the most amount of sunlight during the day.
- Electric chargers require close proximity to a source of electricity. I know, this is obvious, but I’d rather remind you of that before you install the fence than you realize it after everything is all ready to go…only to find that you can’t reach the outlet!
Install the Corner Posts
These posts should be quite large and heavy duty since they will receive the most amount of stress from the electric wire.
We prefer to use T posts on the corners of our garden.
Install the Insulators
Each corner post and smaller post should hold an insulator for the wire to feed through.
Install the In Between Posts
These posts can be either metal, plastic, or wood. They do not need to be as heavy duty as the corner posts since they mainly act as guidance for the electric wire. Place these posts 3 or 4 feet from one another.
When you are sure that all the posts are installed properly, you can start mounting the insulators.
We used a new method for these posts…ones that don’t require insulators. They come with built in hooks for the wire to rest in.
Install Grounding Rod and Wire
The grounding rod will work to connect the wire to the charger.
- The height of grounding posts should be at least 6 feet.
- Set the post close to the charger.
- Leave only about 2 inches above the ground.
- Install the similar grounding posts 10 feet away from the first one.
- Run the wire from the terminal of the charger on the ground to the grounding posts, secure the wire with the grounding clamp.
Install the Wires
Now, it’s time to run the wire for your electric fence. The assembling method depends on the type of wire that you choose.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to install the wire of your electric fence kit.
- Make sure you start assembling the fence starting from the post which is furthest from the charger.
Test the Fence
Once everything seems to be in place, it’s time to test that the fence is actually hot (running electricity through it). I don’t recommend using your own fingers as a testing mechanism!
The best way to test that an electric fence is working properly is with a voltmeter.
- Turn the charger of the electric fence on.
- Test the voltage of the wire with a voltmeter.
More on Gardening
- A Tour Through my Summer Garden
- How to Properly Water the Garden
- Managing the Garden with a Schedule
- My Herb Garden
- 10 Garden-Themed Bible Verses