Protecting my produce with raised garden bed covers

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!

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.

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.
  • 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.

The complete garden bed cover.

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.

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.


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