I wrote a couple weeks ago about how you can make your own Square Foot Garden based on the designs by Mel Bartholomew. The following post is to serve as a companion piece and showcase some of the modifications I have done to improve my beds. You can see the original post by clicking HERE.
When gardening in a SFG there are a lot of things one just doesn’t have to worry about, like digging and weeding. However, pests are always an issue, even if which pests you are dealing with varies depending on your location and what you’re growing. My major problem was and is bunnies.
I live in the suburbs where there are no predators so, we have bunnies everywhere and nothing to keep them in check. These may even be kits from another suburban home that set them free rather than take care of them. However, they got there they are there. I tried pellet guns and traps (both live catch and otherwise), but with little success. My dog wasn’t even much help. My HOA does not allow doghouses or for animals to be kept outside so, there were just too many opportunities for the bunnies to strike my veggies while they weren’t guarded. Even after introducing a fake owl I noticed minimal results.
I determined fences were the only thing that would work. My yard itself was already fenced in, but there were holes, too many to patch. My beds themselves were spread all through out my backyard. Instead of focusing everything in one spot I had put beds scattered about wherever they were likely to get sun. Using one fence to enclose everything just wasn’t feasible, then I had an idea. I would build individual fences for each bed.
I used hardware cloth (a metal mesh with holes smaller than chicken wire) for my fence. The best method I found was to measure what I needed and use tin snips and gloves to cut it into sections (do NOT forget the gloves or you will look like you wrestled a badger). Hardware cloth is typically 4 feet wide, which worked out perfectly. For most of the beds I cut the cloth down the middle and made walls that were 2 feet tall. For beds that I knew would contain vining/vertical vegetables I made two sides 4 feet high so, the plants could grip it and left two sides as 2 feet high allowing me to reach in without a ladder. I used a staple gun to secure the metal mesh to the actual frames of the beds and then zip ties to hold the pieces together. The end result proved to be quite sturdy.
In addition to creating high walls for vertical vegetables, I wanted to add support and more things for the plants to grip. A trip to the garden center solved this. I bought several 6 foot stakes and some garden trellis netting. The netting is basically a nylon grid and you stretch it out to form a trellis. It usually has strands hanging off to secure it to poles, but zip ties add even more stability and are less likely to slip. As an added bonus the stakes are great places to hang fake owls.
Below, you can see some of the modifications I made on my snow pea bed…
Sometime down the road, I’ll show how to winterize a SFG. Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.