Protecting my produce with raised garden bed covers (2023)

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Protecting my produce with raised garden bedcovers

Posted on March 24, 2019August 20, 2019 by Lily Balfour

Protecting my produce with raised garden bed covers (1)

As you know I have been growing a lot of our own food in garden beds at home. I have 5 large and 2 small raised garden beds on rotation which all had nets covering them. Unfortunately I have these little guys to the right visit me most nights while we are sleeping who think it’s a great idea to rip open the netting and help themselves to our produce. The fight was real and something had to be done. The solution – solid garden bed covers with wire mesh. Sorry possimo!

(Video) DIY Raised Garden Bed Cover | How to protect your vegetable garden from small animals

This bed below was our first build and we are so happy with how it turned out. Each side has two hinged doors that open up allowing easy access for harvesting and you can see through the wire so much easier than the netting and the rain and bees can easily get in.

I have built a number of different sized garden beds, using the materials we had leftover from the shed build. This meant that the sizes and designs of the frames had to differ as well. Luckily, Clint is a whizz on the computer and was able to design them and provide me with the exact measurements needed.

I took some photos when we built the second garden bed cover as a step by step if you need to build something similar to protect your garden and I have expanded each of the steps below.

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  • Protecting my produce with raised garden bed covers (7)
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After removing the netting, screws and piping from the bed you are ready to begin.

  • Stage 1: We cut 6 x lengths that were straight on one end and 40 degrees on the other end that attached to the bed. We used two long screws on each length to attach them to the base.
  • Stage 2: Attach the long lengths to the straight end of the three pieces attached to the bed. This length will be the same size as the bed is. Once you have done one side you repeat the process for the other side.
  • Stage 3: Attach the two long lengths together by using three metal pieces. We just bought a straight piece that already had the screw holes in it and just bent them to snap off a two section piece.
  • Stage 4: You then need to build the four doors which is basically a picture frame. You need to measure the opening and build these to size (allowing for a few mm gap each side). We cut the lengths to size then pre-drilled the holes (6.5mm) and screwed them together using 100mm screws.
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  • Stage 5: Attaching the door to the bed. We used clamps and wood to make it easier to sit the frame into the hole so we just needed to get the gaps around the outside even and then screw the hinge onto the door. Make sure you already have the hinge attached to the top frame first before attaching it to the door. You then need to do this for the three other doors.
  • Stage 6: Take the screws out of the hinge leaving the hinge attached to the garden bed frame and lay the door face down on the ground. Unroll the wire netting and place over the frame. Cut the wire to size so it covers the entire hole plus about half the door. I used secateurs to cut it as they worked the best. I then used a staple gun to attach the wire to the frame and hammered the staples to ensure they were flat against the door. I then attached it back onto the hinge which is very easy given the holes are already there. Again, you’ll now need to repeat this same process for the three other doors.
  • Stage 7: Covering the ends of the bed. These ends are just covered in wire and do not open. I’m sure you could create a door but there really isn’t any need as you can access the entire bed from the other doors. These ends are an awkward size being triangles with a V at the top and can be very fiddly. I found it best to cut a rectangle piece of wire and attach it with the staple gun and then cut all the excess off. It does produce some wastage but I have found I use these off-cuts up in the smaller beds or other projects so they aren’t really wasted.

The bed is now complete and you can enjoy using it!! Here are some completed shots of some of the other beds, including some smaller ones that just have two doors instead of four and one of the big whoppers that is over 3m long.

(Video) 4 Cheap & EASY to Make Raised Garden Bed COVERS

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Here is a recap of the tools and supplies that I used/needed for this project:

Tools

  • Drop saw/Sliding saw to cut wood
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bits (5mm and 6.5mm) for pilot holes
  • Phillips head & Hex head drill bits
  • Staple gun
  • Hammer
  • Wire cutters
  • Clamps x 4
  • Tape measure, square and pencil

Supplies (per bed)

  • Wood was pine 70mm x 35mm and purchased in 2.4m and 3.6m lengths.
  • 8 hinges – I used 70mm butt hinges, zinc plated with a loose pin.
  • 24 screws – 10G x 60mm hinge long thread timber screws for stage 1 & 2
  • 30 screws – 8G x 25mm hinge long thread timber screws for stages 3 & 5
  • 32 screws – Type 17 (14-10 x 100mm) Batten, Bugle Head with internal hex drive, galvanised for external use with treated pine for stage 4
  • Metal staples to suit your staple gun. Any type will be fine.
  • Wire mesh – I used Whites aviary mesh that I bought from Bunnings. Its 90cm wide and the square holes are 12mm x 12mm. This still allow bees to get through easily but any bigger could allow for a sneaky paw to help itself.
  • 1 length of make-a-bracket such as this one and break off into 2 section lengths.

It has been a big project and its not over yet as I still have two beds left to go. I have been getting one done each weekend so just two more weekends left to go. I have left the two biggest and tallest beds until the end but it’s probably been best as we have learnt a few tricks to speed up the processes along the way.

Protecting my produce with raised garden bed covers (18)

Best of all, the possums haven’t been able to get into any of the new beds and all of the plants have been growing so much better without the nightly nibble.

  1. I thought you had two dog to look after the possum?

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  2. Hi,
    Love you raised bed covers. Here we have deers, gofers, rabbits and frost in June. I was just talking to hubby about covers like these on my 4 beds and bam there yours! Lol
    I would add a rolled up piece if plastic for those frosty nights. It would avoid us running like twits looking for coverings for the boxes.🤣

    Thank you for sharing!

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    (Video) Easy DIY Garden Bed Cover (Protect your garden from unwanted critters)

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  3. Thank you for putting all this info here! I am very interested in the details of bed cover #7- the last one with the side doors. What do you like better about that design? Thank you for any input! I’m battling squirrels, rats, raccoons and possums! They love my baby lettuces!

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    1. Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed the content. The wildlife sure can be challenging at times. The side opening design (#7) has turned into quite a favourite of ours over the past year and allows for tall plants such as tomatoes to grow easily. Working with a square shape was easier too given the wire mesh required less cutting. Once you have your measurements depending on the bed size and height you wish, my only suggestion would be to allow for a larger gap around the doors to allow them to open and close easily as we found the wood really shrinks and grows a lot in the weather so at times we have had trouble getting some of the doors open. Other than that, it has turned out to be a great design. Best of luck!

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FAQs

Should you cover a raised garden bed? ›

It is important to cover your raised beds to prevent both erosion and weeds and weed seeds from coming in over winter. If leaves, grass clippings or straw are not available, cover your beds with a tarp or plastic.

How do you protect a raised vegetable bed? ›

Insect netting and barrier fabrics are perfect for the job. Enjoy a year-round crop – A garden bed cover like a mini hoop tunnel or cold frame can protect from temporary bad weather like frost or hail, or you can use them to stretch the harvest season into autumn or even winter.

Should you cover your vegetable garden? ›

Yes, you should cover up your vegetable garden during the winter, just as you'd want to protect bare soil. Covering a vegetable garden during the winter will help prevent erosion and suppress weeds. If you use an organic mulch like compost or cover crops, they'll even improve the quality of your soil over winter.

What can I cover my raised garden bed with? ›

Plastic is a common choice for the cover of a raised garden bed, and for good reason. Plastic is commonly available and serves multiple purposes: First, a plastic cover will keep both animal and insect pests out of your raised garden bed. This will give you a better harvest from the same number of plants.

Should I cover my raised beds with plastic? ›

Answer: It is a great idea to protect your garden bed soil from winter rains. Plastic is one way of doing this.

What are three mistakes to avoid when gardening with raised beds? ›

8 Raised Bed Gardening Mistakes That Could Thwart Your Success
  • Picking the Wrong Spot. ...
  • Forgetting About a Water Source. ...
  • Making the Beds Too Big. ...
  • Building with the Wrong Materials. ...
  • Not Using the Best Soil. ...
  • Selecting Oversize Plants. ...
  • Skipping Mulch. ...
  • Not Protecting Your Plants.
18 Apr 2022

Should I cover my vegetable garden with plastic? ›

Lay it on the ground, cut holes only where you will set plants, and weeds will die from lack of light, presumably ending all your weed problems for years to come. But other problems arise. An impermeable sheet of plastic over the ground can leave plant roots and soil microorganisms gasping for air.

What is the best material to put around raised garden beds? ›

Among the most popular materials for raised beds are wood, wood composites, and metal. Within these categories are a multitude of options. Let's look at a few. Cedar and cypress have a similar aesthetic and natural rot-resistance, making them an excellent choice for garden beds.

How do I protect my raised beds from pests? ›

Placing something in and around your garden bed that physically stop pests from getting to your plants is one of the soundest protections where practical. Common barrier materials include collars, fabric, fencing, mesh and more. While they sound expensive, some of them can be homemade from waste materials.

When should I cover my raised beds? ›

Covering the soil in your raised bed is a good practice throughout the year. It is especially useful in the early spring, after amendments and fertilizer have been added. The cover helps retain warmth which helps the amendments break down and 'cure' before seeds are planted or starters transplanted.

At what temperature should I cover my vegetable garden? ›

Cover Plants – Protect plants from all but the hardest freeze (28°F for five hours) by covering them with sheets, towels, blankets, cardboard or a tarp.

How do you protect a raised garden bed from rain? ›

Cover your plants with overturned pots, bowls, buckets, or other appropriately-sized containers to keep them from suffering wind and rain damage. Be sure to weigh down the coverings in order to hold them in place–rocks, cement blocks, and bricks will work just fine.

How do I protect my raised garden beds from heavy rain? ›

Set up wind barriers around your garden beds by using heavy bags of potting soil, rocks, or sand. Place large buckets or cloches weighted with heavy rocks over individual plants to protect them. Large plants and shrubs may be wrapped in burlap and secured with twine.

What should I cover my vegetable garden soil with? ›

Mulch is the perfect security blanket for young veggies. It prevents weeds, insulates soil during chilly winters, keeps plants safe from diseases, and locks in soil moisture. For a healthy, green garden bed, mulch has you covered. Vegetable gardens require specific types of mulch to thrive.

What should raised beds be lined with? ›

You can line your raised bed to make it more durable and to prevent toxics from leaching into the soil. For lining, use landscape fabric found at garden supply stores or cloth fabric from clothing. Avoid non-porous plastic, as it can retain too much water and discourage beneficial insects and worms.

Should I cover my garden with black plastic in the winter? ›

For vegetable gardens, another option is to simply cover your garden beds with black plastic or a layer of cardboard or even an old carpet, leaving it in place through the winter season and up until you're ready to plant in spring. This will kill existing weeds and subdue sprouting seeds.

Is black plastic good for gardens? ›

Yes, it does warm the soil, extend crops growing time, hold moisture in the soil and keep down a plethora of weeds. No, black plastic is not organic. Most black plastic eventually goes into the landfill in a season or two-unless you use one of the newer biodegradable or photo-degradable black plastic mulches.

What vegetables should not be grown in a raised bed? ›

Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Romanesco Grow Too Large for Raised Beds. These plants would take over each and every inch of your container or raised bed and then still want more. They do better when they're planted in rows or mounds to give them plenty of space and sunlight.

Should raised beds be filled to the top? ›

On that note: try to fill your beds all the way up! They don't need to be overflowing necessarily, but at least up to within a couple inches of the top. When you first water the bed, it will compact and sink down a little. Depending on how much it sinks, you may want to top it off with another layer of compost.

How long can you cover plants with plastic? ›

Don't keep the coverings on your plants for more than two days in a row without removing them in the day since this can cause water to become trapped underneath, leading to fungal diseases and can cause plants to produce new growth that can be easily damaged by cold.

Why do farmers cover plants with plastic? ›

But sustainability-minded shoppers might not be aware that many organic farmers — like their conventional farming neighbors — also rely on plastic. It's spread over the ground as a form of mulch to suppress weeds, conserve water and aid plant growth.

Does covering plants with plastic help? ›

Do not use plastic, such as tarps or plastic sheeting to cover plants. Plastic will transmit cold air to the plants, causing more harm than good. We recommend using cotton fabric or frost cloth to protect plants from frost.

How do I keep bugs from eating my vegetables? ›

Placing a copper ring around the base of plants will help deter slugs and snails. A floating row cover (lightweight fabric) either laid on the plants or held up by wire hoops can be used to keep insects like cabbage loopers, bean beetles, cucumber beetles, and squash vine borers off your plants.

How do I keep bugs from eating my vegetable garden? ›

7 Simple Strategies to Prevent Garden Pests
  1. Grow Resistant Varieties. ...
  2. Confuse Pests. ...
  3. Plant Outside of Peak Times. ...
  4. Grow Out of the Way. ...
  5. Use Physical Barriers. ...
  6. Attract Beneficial Bugs. ...
  7. Keep Plants Healthy.
11 Jul 2019

What can I spray on my vegetable garden to keep bugs away? ›

Oil Spray: Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of mild liquid soap. Add 2-8 teaspoons of this mixture to 1 quart of water and spray your plants as above. The oil in this spray smothers the insects so it is effective on aphids, thrips, mites, and scale.

Should you water your raised bed everyday? ›

Plants require more water when it is dry, windy, or in the summer heat. During the summer in hot areas like Arizona, raised-bed gardens often need watering every day. Other times of the year, the raised beds may only need to be watered 1-2 times per week. Adjust the frequency of the timer for seasonal conditions.

Will plants survive winter in raised beds? ›

Raised beds are the perfect solution for low-lying gardens with zero elevation for plants. Raised beds protect the plants from the harsh elements while keeping the soil warm during the winter season.

Do plants grow better in raised beds? ›

Raised beds are often more productive than beds in the ground because the soil is less compacted, has better drainage, and warms earlier in the spring, meaning that plants will start to grow earlier in the season.

Can cover crops replace fertilizer? ›

Not only do they “fix” their own nitrogen needs, they will capture enough to give to a follow-up nitrogen loving cash crop. If you plant your last corn into a lush cover crop of hairy vetch, you can account for up to 100 pounds of nitrogen you won't need to buy.

Do cover crops really work? ›

They lead to better water infiltration and water holding capacity in the soil and make the soil less susceptible to erosion from wind and water. In addition, cover crops trap excess nitrogen – keeping it from leaching into groundwater or running off into surface water – releasing it later to feed growing crops.

Can you plant too much cover crop? ›

But too much growth isn't always a good thing. Nester says many cover crops will die in the winter, but cool-season cover crops may not. Deciding when to terminate them in the spring is not easy. Left to grow too long, cover crops can become weeds difficult to kill while sapping groundwater and nutrients.

How do you keep vegetable plants warm where the nights are cold? ›

Cover Your Plants.

Old sheets and blankets work perfectly well. Drape them over sensitive plants in the early evening before the real cold sets in. Remove them each day as temperatures warm up. In some cases, it may be necessary to build a structure around the plant to prevent the covering from damaging stems.

Will cardboard boxes protect plants from frost? ›

From that experience, I've found the best frost protection for your outdoor plants is either free or cheap. Cardboard boxes and brown grocery sacks make perfect frost cover and at the end of the season can be recycled. I keep various boxes on the patio and when frost is forecast simply put one over the plant.

Will garbage bags protect plants from frost? ›

Yes – if you secure the plant properly. Garbage bags work to cover plants and protect from frost, but they must not be allowed to touch the plant's surface. Use stakes and supports to create a tent-like structure over the plant, which will retain warm air. Make sure the trash bag goes all the way to the ground.

Should I cover my vegetable garden from rain? ›

There are a number of ways of protecting the soil, the easiest with a good layer of mulch - in the vegetable beds not with shredded bark, wood or wood chips but a generous blanket of straw.

Do I need to cover my garden when it rains? ›

Make sure there is a proper runoff that slopes away from that garden and, most importantly, make sure it is not blocked. Use a waterproof covering such as tarpaulin to cover young and fragile plants, including herbs and vegetables, if the rain if hard and persistent.

Should you cover tomatoes when raining? ›

You can simply leave them in the rain, and some of the fruit will crack and otherwise lose quality. You can pick anything with any color and store them to ripen slowly out of the field. You can tarp the plants in the field to keep the rain off.

Should you waterproof raised garden beds? ›

Sealing wood garden beds can help extend their lifespan many years beyond unsealed wood. Applying a sealer will protect the wood from moisture intrusion, mold, and decay.

How do farmers protect their crops from thunderstorms? ›

Plant coverings are like tubes that cover rows of plants, and you can find them at any garden store. Spread these covers over all your crops before a rainstorm to slow the raindrops and prevent damage. You could also use a plain fabric sheet.

How do you keep plants from getting waterlogged? ›

Preventing your potted plants from becoming waterlogged can be a worry. Follow our 5 easy steps to create a rainproof container garden you can enjoy all year round.
  1. Step 1 – Compose Your Compost. ...
  2. Step 2- Encourage Drainage. ...
  3. Step 3 – Placing The Plants. ...
  4. Step 4 – Cover The Bulbs. ...
  5. Step 5 – Give Your Garden Legs.
6 Apr 2016

How do you cover crop a raised bed? ›

For small-medium raised beds, cut the cover crops using shears at the base of the plant. For larger raised beds, use a weed-wacker. Evenly place all of the plant cuttings on the soil surface. There is no need to cut the cover crop(s) into small pieces.

How do you cover a raised vegetable bed? ›

A wire mesh made of metal will keep animals out of your garden. It won't do anything to protect against insects or cold, though. You could use a mesh material as a cover to allow your plants to breathe. Then, you could put plastic or row covers over the mesh to add overnight protection from cold and frost.

When should I cover my raised garden bed? ›

Raised bed covers are essential for your raised vegetable garden if you want to grow later in the year and overwinter, or get an early start in the spring. They also offer the perfect insect & pest protection and keep strong winds and rain at bay.

How do I protect my raised garden beds in the winter? ›

Mulch to Insulate Soil

One of the most important tasks in preparing a raised bed garden for winter is insulation. Above-ground gardens can be more vulnerable to the cold than in-ground gardens. Keep your soil covered with several inches of mulch. Spread the winter mulch after the ground is frozen.

When should you cover a garden bed? ›

Covering the soil in your raised bed is a good practice throughout the year. It is especially useful in the early spring, after amendments and fertilizer have been added. The cover helps retain warmth which helps the amendments break down and 'cure' before seeds are planted or starters transplanted.

Should you water a raised bed garden every day? ›

Plants require more water when it is dry, windy, or in the summer heat. During the summer in hot areas like Arizona, raised-bed gardens often need watering every day. Other times of the year, the raised beds may only need to be watered 1-2 times per week. Adjust the frequency of the timer for seasonal conditions.

What should I cover my garden bed with in the winter? ›

For vegetable gardens, another option is to simply cover your garden beds with black plastic or a layer of cardboard or even an old carpet, leaving it in place through the winter season and up until you're ready to plant in spring. This will kill existing weeds and subdue sprouting seeds.

How do you protect a raised bed from freezing? ›

Protect Your Garden with Hoops and Plastic

Or use 10-foot pieces of PVC to make hoops over a raised bed and drape with 5 mil painters plastic for some frost protection Secure the edges to keep heat in and cold out. Wait to cover until the sun begins to set so your plants don't overheat.

Should I cover my garden with plastic? ›

An impermeable sheet of plastic over the ground can leave plant roots and soil microorganisms gasping for air. Roots set in the openings might develop even greater breathing problems when all the water falling on the plastic floods those holes.

How do you cover raised beds from animals? ›

Chicken wire, hardware cloth or rabbit fencing are the least expensive alternatives for small mammals. A fence that's at least six to eight feet tall will work for most deer, and plastic bird netting can be placed over small edible bushes like berries before they ripen.

Videos

1. DIY Raised Garden Bed Screen Covers
(Kellogg Garden)
2. Raised Garden Bed Cover - Protect Your Vegetables
(Sam's Boring Channel)
3. Squirrel Proof Raised Garden Bed Covers for Tomato Plants
(Needlepointers)
4. Keep Animals Out Of Your Raised Bed Gardens For Good!
(Darius Cooks)
5. Building hinged covers for raised beds
(In the Garden with Eli and Kate)
6. Mesh covers to protect vegetables , showing how and when to use them
(Charles Dowding)
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