My garden is not protected by a fence.
It is in the middle of a yard that is freely shared by a busy family of squirrels, bunnies big and small, a wandering neighborhood cat, the occasional deer, and birds of all shapes and sizes.
Last year I had a real challenge with something eating my peppers and tomatoes before I had a chance to get to them. I would find them laying in the yard with a big bite taken out of them.
I also noticed large swatches of the early leaves of my Black Eyed Susans that would be nibbled to the ground.
But this year I have not had any problems. The Black Eyed Susans were unmolested, the volunteer sunflowers grew big and strong and un-nibbled, and my carrot patch has even escaped the tummies of the hungry bunnies.
Only ONE item has come up missing...
One jalapeño pepper.
The first one to ripen - it went missing the day before I was planning to harvest it.
And I did not find it laying in the yard.
My guess is someone went home with a burning mouth and tummyache and spread the word to all the other critters... "hey, that lady's garden is dangerous - you better stay away"
Better than any fence. And much tastier!