How can you protect your garden from animal pests?
I love gardening, especially the fresh vegetables and fruits the garden produces throughout the seasons. However, even though I live in a small town, I have trouble with rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs and even deer eating the vegetables, fruits and plant leaves in the raised garden beds.
Planting and growing my own vegetables and fruits is extremely rewarding and gratifying, but learning to protect my garden from pests and animals has involved a lot of trial and error along with problem solving.
Garden Bed Cover tutorial
To protect my harvest, my first line of defense was to put a fence around the raised beds. To do this I invested in black metal dog exercise pens. That way I could fence each individual raised bed separately.
The metal dog exercise pens are sturdy and would last year after year after year and not need to be replaced. This solved the fencing problem so rabbits couldn't get into the garden. But the squirrels, groundhogs and deer were still being destructive.
Above is a closeup of the metal dog exercise pen around the bed
Squirrels climbed the fence, dug up seedlings and eat small vegetables like tiny cucumbers and zucchinis. They also enjoyed eating the flowers of the strawberry plants.
Arriving home one day, I discovered a groundhog leisurely relaxing in the lettuce bed. I scared him and he jumped out over the metal fence. I didn't realize fat groundhogs could jump so high.
And the deer, yes the deer, ate the leaves on my pole string beans and sweet potato plants.
No more vertical gardening for me. So I started intensive gardening and also began Square Foot Gardening.
In need of a simple solution for covering the raised garden beds - something that was removable, something not too heavy and something easily stored at the end of the season - I finally decided on a chicken wire frame. The chicken wire frame could be placed on top of the raised bed fencing.
In the video, I will explain how to make chicken wire raised garden bed covers since they were already made. But if you keep reading this article, you will find step-by-step instructions for making the bed covers.
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HOW TO COVER RAISED GARDEN BEDS
These bed covers are a simple, easy and quick DIY project. With the help of my son, we completed two raised bed covers in about an hour.My raised garden beds are approximately 4' x 8'. A frame that large would be awkward to handle. Making two covers per raised bed would solve the weight and awkwardness problem.
WHAT YOU NEED:
To make one raised bed cover
- (5) 1 x 2 x 48" boards
- (2) T-plates
- (4) Flat corner braces
- Screws driver (hand or electric) or Cordless Drill
- 1" mesh chicken wire or plastic fencing
- Staple gun
INSTRUCTIONS for making a raised bed covers
STEP 1: gather supplies and tools
Perhaps you already have the needed supplies around your home. If you don't, go to your favorite building supply store and purchase the boards, chicken wire, t-plates and flat corner braces.
I purchased the boards 8 feet long and had the store cut them into 4-foot sections. You may need your boards a different length depending on the size of your raised garden beds.
Measure your raised beds and calculate what you need.
STEP 2: Build the frame
Line the boards up like a frame with a board in the middle for support.
After all the boards are lined up, screw the flat corner braces to each corner.
Then screw the t-plates to attach the support board to the frame in the middle.
STEP 3: chicken wire
After all the boards are attached, use a staple gun to secure the chicken wire to the back of the frame.
Don’t make this mistake! To my dismay, the chicken wire I purchased was 2” mesh. I didn’t realize there were different size mesh.
After placing the cover frame on the wire fencing, I noticed a squirrel squeezing through the mesh and into the garden. Having some 1” mesh plastic fencing, it was added to the back of the frame.
If purchasing chicken wire, read the package carefully so you don't make my mistake.
I am extremely happy with the covering on my raised beds. They are working great. I am eating the harvest instead of the animals.
The covers protect the plants from pesky destructive animals but allow useful insects like bees to pollinate the plants.
Are you interested in more gardening ideas, visit our Sustainable and Organic Gardening page? Here is lots of information and also yard craft ideas.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video
comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
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