We work really hard setting up our garden every year, and want to get as much out of it as we possibly can. Since we're on the edge of the woods, we have lots of little critters who love our garden as much as we do. We also have chickens that have been very helpful in getting our beds ready for planting, but we don't want them to eat everything we plant.
After we lost so much to the critter buffet last year, we started researching the best way to prevent it this year. We've seen plastic tunnels, fencing and netting, but nothing that looked like what we needed. The idea of netting made the most sense, but we have a pretty darn big garden, with several raised beds. Charlie designed these awesome garden cages, using PVC, and they work great! They're easy to make, inexpensive, portable, and do what we want them to do.
What you need:
PVC – 8 pieces for top and bottom (cut 6 inches longer than sides of bed), 4 pieces for sides
90-degree side outlet elbow
Snap clamps (to hold netting to PVC)
Most of the supplies can be found at your local hardware store. Snap clamps can be found online, if they aren't available nearby.
Our raised beds measure 4 feet by 5 feet, so Charlie cut four pieces of PVC to 4 1/2 feet, and four pieces to 5 1/2 feet. These will make up the top and bottom of the cage. He then cut four pieces to 30 inches to make the vertical supports. (PVC pipe is sold in 10-foot sections, so five pieces of pipe will make the cages for this size.)
Place the corner pieces at the ends of one length of PVC, then connect the other length to make the top and bottom frames
Add the side supports to the bottom frame, then connect the top to the bottom.
Then, wrap the netting around the frame and use the snap clamps to attach the netting around the bottom of the frame.
That’s all there is to it! You can make your cages any size you need. They’re lightweight and easy to move. When it’s time to harvest, the cages can be tipped up on their sides to get to the goodies. After growing season, they can be stacked out of the way. What we’re going to try early next spring is wrapping the cages with plastic to make cold frames. If all goes well, it will extend our planting season by several weeks.