Raised Bed Pest Cover

comments (7) October 15th, 2009

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yourownvictorygarden Greg Holdsworth, contributor
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If you have a raised bed garden, here's an "add-on" you can build to keep most pests from munching on your plants. You're basically building a "lid" that fits on top and inside your existing raised bed. The idea is simple: if butterflies can't get to your plants, they can't lay the eggs on the leaves, which then turn into caterpillars that enjoy having them for lunch.

Here are the supplies you'll need:

1. Plywood strips 1" x 2" x 8' (The quantity will be determined by how many covers you're making and how big your raised beds are)
2. Wood screws (I grabbed a box of #8 1-1/2", 100 in a box)
3. White lace "screen" fabric (you can score some of this at a fabric/cloth store)
4. Thread
5. Screen door handles for easier moving (optional)

And the tools you'll need:

1. Electric drill
2. Screwdriver (electric or manual)
3. Staple gun
4. Measuring tape
5. Scissors or knife

Building instructions:

Step 1. Before you head to the home center to get the wood strips, measure the INSIDE width and length of your raised bed(s). You don't need to go right to the edge... leave a little wiggle room. Remember, you will be DOUBLING that length of wood, one for the top of the frame and one for the bottom. Then decide how tall you want the cover. You will be multiplying this length by 4 (for the 4 corners).

The total of these measurements will determine how much wood strips you will need. For example, since my raised beds are 5 feet square, I needed eight of the eight-foot strips; 4 for the top and 4 for the bottom. For each 8-foot piece I cut, I had a 3-foot piece left over. Since I decided to make my cover 2 feet tall, I could use the four 3-foot leftover pieces for the sides.

The photos should make this more understandable if it isn't at this stage.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember to compensate for the thickness of the wood strip when cutting the length pieces. I almost discovered this precaution the hard way.

Step 2. Once you have cut your eight pieces for the top and bottom, drill pilot holes for the screws and screw the four pieces together.

Step 3. Take the "frame" to your raised bed to make sure your measurements were correct. If they're not, NOW is the time to find this out, rather than after you've completely built it (d'oh!).

Step 4. If all is well, you can repeat Step 2 for the second frame.

Step 5. Screw the four side pieces to one of the frames.

Step 6. Turn the frame with side pieces over and line it up with the other frame below it. Again, screw in the side pieces to that one. You should now have the completed frame, ready for covering.

Step 7.
This step may be optional for you depending on the size of your raised bed(s). In my case, since the width of the fabric wasn't wide enough to cover the top and two side areas, I had to do it in two pieces. I needed something to staple/anchor the two sections of fabric to on the top. For this I cut another eight-foot piece and screwed it in halfway between two of the parallel sides on the top.

Step 8. Taking your fabric, cover the top and sides of the cover, anchoring it with staples. As you are stapling it to each side, pull the cloth in order to make a tight fit.

Step 9. Using thread, sew the two sides of cloth together if you need them to overlap. Again, this step may be optional.

Step 10. Attach two screen door handles on the top to assist you in lifting/moving the frame (optional)

Your "pest cover" is now ready for active duty, acting as a shield to protect your plants from bugs, birds, etc. Good luck!

After you try it, show it off to other members in the
gardener's gallery.
Post your photos

posted in: raised bed, Pest control, green

Comments (7)

hawkechik writes: I believe what they are referring to is more commonly known as "tulle" - it will usually be found in the bridal/prom section of a fabric store. Be aware though, that it is not UV stable and will probably only last a season. I've used something similar to keep Squash Vine Borers out of my squash where it worked quite well, but for that purpose you have to make sure that you go out every morning or so and hand pollinate if you want any produce.
Posted: 2:01 pm on July 20th
ChristineAnn0206 writes: I've also read about people using window/door screen fabric which you should be able to find at a building store. Same idea as mosquito netting and might wear better, I don't know.
Posted: 7:23 pm on June 29th
ChristineAnn0206 writes: I made something similar to this using mosquito netting that I ordered online. It worked very well and I've had no cabbage worms on cabbage or broccoli. It's easier to water through than row cover cloth and can be left on all season. It would not work with plants that need pollinators.
Posted: 7:20 pm on June 29th
BETHESDABECK writes: I'm not quite sure what you consider 'white lace screen fabric' - I've checked at 4 large online fabric stores, and they either want to sell me lace (um, no, thanks), or something with holes large enough for grasshoppers and crickets to go through in tandem. Are you talking about mosquito netting, perhaps?
I'd love to try this, but really need a little more clarification as to the screen fabric. How long did yours last you? Our garden is on a hilltop where the wind rarely lays, and can't keep plastic hoop houses in one piece for a full season. Advice would be appreciated.
Posted: 1:01 pm on June 29th
Sam_CO writes: So do you pollinate the plants by hand that aren't self pollinating?

It's more expensive, but I'm trying the metal screen with 1/2 inc squares like you use on a rabbit hutch. Squirrels can't chew through it. The holes are too small for most butterflies but big enough for bees.

And yes, I've had to give up on pole beans and peas :-)

Posted: 7:46 am on April 13th
barkway writes: How did you keep the evil squirrels and other critters with teeth from chewing through your fabric screening? I'm going to try making these with wire hardware cloth. The squirrels here eat everything before we can harvest, and can chew through the best plastic/fiber screening!
Posted: 10:06 am on April 27th
NewsMom writes: You, sir, are a genius. I know this, because I had this idea, and couldn't quite figure out how to make it (if only my high school had let me take shop...) Thank you!
Posted: 3:54 pm on April 27th
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