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Protective covering over boxes and plants...

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Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  rds1955 on 3/5/2010, 11:44 am

In Mel's most recent book he provides a method of building a wire cage to place over the gardening area to help protect it from varmits and critters...
I'm curious if anyone has come up with any other ideas on building or designing ways to cover and protect their garden boxes and plants...

I'm re-doing the whole thing from what I started to do last year, to smaller more manageable sized boxes, and I have a large field to the rear of my property, and occasionally I have deer who decide they want to stop by for frequent visits, plus I have an entire village of rabbits and squirrels who throughout the year proceed to let me know "I'M" the invader, not them....Building table top height beds will deter the rabbits, but not the squirrels, birds or deer...

This weekend, I'm starting seeds indoors, and when the direct sow season starts I'll be using 2 Ltr. empty bottles with the labels and bottoms cut off
These will act as mini-greenhouses over each individual plant and provide a really small degree of protection for the just beginning plants, but as the season progresses, I need to put up something more sturdy and large enough to allow for unfettered growth...

I'll probably build the ones Mel describes in his book, but I was looking for any other ways that may be working for anyone else..

Thanks..
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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  boffer on 3/5/2010, 12:15 pm

I had a meeting with the representatives of the local squirrel community, and we came to a mutually agreeable compromise: I feed them in the front yard, and they stay out of my SFGs in the backyard! Hey, it works for me!

I'm trying out one box this year that is isolated from the others and not readily visible. (I want to see what growing cool crops in mostly shade will do) I'm thinking I will put 4 posts in the corners, and wrap them with 2ft. wide light gauge chicken wire. It's a TT of course, so the top of the wire will be over 5 feet high, enough to keep the deer from nibbling. I haven't figured out easy access yet, but as the wire really doesn't have to be all that secure, I might just use some baling wire as twistie ties.

Last year, I'd go out in the morning to find that nights carrots laying on top of the ground. The deer would try nibbling on the greens and pull them clean out! It was cute for a few days, but I ended up laying crop cover cloth right on top of the greens for the rest of the summer.

I came across (free) some 8x20 foot 6" grid concrete re-inforcing wire panels. They have turned out to be quite versatile. I use them for different shapes and sizes of lattice, temporary deer fencing (I support them with T posts), and whole bed cloche cover supports.

I hope this helps getting the creative juices flowing!
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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  happyfrog on 3/5/2010, 1:54 pm

i use milk jugs and 2 liter bottles and juice bottles, too - just like you do, rds1955!

work great.

we had made chicken wire like covers last year but that didn't last too well the kids trampled those covers when they weren't in use. . . so learning experience there.

will be doing smaller covers - mel's videos available from the library show how you just bend some chicken wire to fit over each square. seems more practical, so we're gonna try that this year.

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cover and tomato trellis

Post  flynguy on 3/7/2010, 10:28 am

I'm building my wire cover today, but I'm curious how my cover will work once my tomatoes and melons are growing up the vertical garden frame. Will I have to cut one side out? Has anyone re-fit the wire cover to accommodate the vertical frame?
I LOVE the idea posted about using the tops of soda bottles as mini greenhouses. I will have to visit the recycle center and take some. Thank!

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wire cover

Post  JKracke on 3/9/2010, 8:50 pm

I built the chicken wire cover described in Mel's book last year. This year, I am adding a trellis. I don't want to cut out a side of the chicken wire cage, because that would no longer keep out the rabbits. I think that I will instead put my trellis on a new box that's only for climbing plants -- I am still looking for ideas to protect those.

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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  chocolatepop on 3/12/2010, 9:22 am

This is what I did. I don't have deer problems though, just dogs, cats, ground hogs, skunks, and squirrels. But this is enough to deter most of them.

I made a square frame and then used rabbit mesh. so it is open top, IDK if this would work for you though..

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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  boffer on 3/12/2010, 9:31 am

Note the use of T posts in CPs picture. They come in very handy around a garden, even for SFG.
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Deer

Post  choksaw on 3/12/2010, 3:49 pm

This might sound funny but it works at least it did when i gardened in NJ Take some cheesecloth or an old pair of panty hose or and old sock and fill it with hair clippings from a barber shop or hairdresser and hang them around the permitter of your garden when deer get the scent that there is a human nnear by they are less likely to break cover to invade your garden rotate the locations on a weekly basis and refresh the clippings from time to time to keep the scent high and active.
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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  happyfrog on 3/12/2010, 3:56 pm

rds1955 wrote:In Mel's most recent book he provides a method of building a wire cage to place over the gardening area to help protect it from varmits and critters...
I'm curious if anyone has come up with any other ideas on building or designing ways to cover and protect their garden boxes and plants...

this just caught my attention today because i noticed that the birds and other critters got my pea seeds. Sad *sad face*

so i went out today and bought a roll of chicken wire 1" holes. and i plan on cutting it into 1 foot wide by 2 feet (2 feet because the roll is 25" wide) so that i can make it into a little 'cage' for each square. saw it on one of mel's old videos that are available to watch at the library. i am not sure how to describe, so i will take a pic when i'm done. should be an easy thing - hardest thing is remembering where i put the wire cutters. . .

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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  chocolatepop on 3/12/2010, 4:13 pm

Boff, how did the meeting the the local squirrel representative go?

Because since it it getting warmer, the hubby and I are thinking of having a sit down with the local groundhog family, offering up some apples, carrots, and other goodies for dinner... inside a cage.

Squirrels, I've given up on because they are just too smart. I'll have to find my old squirrel after a dinner of a tomato picture.

To cover my "babies" whent hey are first growing I used milk crates, pop bottles, milk jugs, row cover, tulle/bird protection, just about anything really. But I really didn't have many issues with those seed snatchers.

Haahaa found the picture:

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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  boffer on 3/12/2010, 4:30 pm

For a deer repellent I tried putting Irish Spring bar soap, cut into shavings, in a net bag and hanging it in the garden. I watched a deer sniff it and go about her business chewing on the walnut tree it was hanging on! I left the soap hanging for three years and it didn't melt away. What's in that stuff!
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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  boog on 3/12/2010, 8:41 pm

reading boffers post about the soap lasting 3 years reminded me of the egg mcmiffin sandwich at the weight loss place the b/h go's to they bought it the week they opened up 6 months ago still sitting on the shelf looks eggzackly the same as the day they bought it i dont even wanna know whats in it
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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  chocolatepop on 3/13/2010, 12:27 am

or the petrified french fries from McDonalds under my seat from my 3 year old?
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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  boog on 3/13/2010, 8:21 pm

ok went to dollar genral saw this little garden book old farmers almanac; all seasons garden guide, has in it 25 tips that could save your season an drum roll please....................................... .................................... mix 12 rotten eggs in 5 gallons of water and spray around the perimeter of your garden to repel deer. that is all, we now return you back to your regualy schuled programming
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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  LupinFarm on 3/13/2010, 10:26 pm

I have to keep my chickens and naughty ducks out of the garden, in early spring I just have my poly tunnels but the frames will stay on and be covered in plastic netting and/or chicken wire...

My polytunnel frames are like the ones that Mel does in the newest book..

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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/14/2010, 8:02 am

I have a roll of utility wire (2x4" mesh) that I am cutting up and making protectors. My cats have invited all their friends to come and try out "their" new giant litter boxes , so everything has to be covered until the plants are well established. This might be SFG heresy, but instead of covering each square individually, I've found the best use of the wire is to make a short cage (4" tall) 1 foot by 3, so it covers three squares. That way I don't waste any wire. Since my boxes are 3' wide, it works out perfectly. I will also make some taller ones 9 - 10" high to cover 2 squares when I put out the peppers and eggplants later this week. The other benefit is if we get a late freeze, I can just throw a cover over the entire box and not worry about squishing the plants.

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Re: Protective covering over boxes and plants...

Post  Windsor.Parker on 1/9/2012, 1:59 am

Retired Member 1 wrote:...This might be SFG heresy, but instead of covering each square individually...
Each year, if I feel up to the chore, I use the same approach to protect two non-SFG beds; a 10'x6' and an 8'x4'. I even fashioned top covers and entryways!
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