Monday, May 2, 2016

Turning Wood Scraps into a Garden Cage

We don't see many animals in our suburban backyard, however, when I plant lettuce and other spring crops, I swear a siren goes off alerting all the animals to come sample.  Last fall, it got so bad that I was unable to harvest anything.  If it wasn't the birds scratching in the soil, or the squirrels looking for seeds, then it was the rabbits and foxes coming to sample what had grown.  Fortunately, the deer were distracted by my neighbor's apple tree.  So, I sketched out a design for a mesh cage to sit on top of my smaller garden for the spring and fall crops.  It had to be removable for the taller tomatoes and cucumber trellis.  Here's the end result.
To build your own cage (which is also conventient for throwing a tarp on during those frost/freeze warnings at night) you only need a few supplies. 
We started with 6 pieces of 1x2s and 4 pieces of 2x4s.  They were cut down to size.  Since my 4x4 raised bed was not exactly 4x4, we had to cut the pieces accordingly.  So be careful to measure your bed first.  I also wanted to make the the back of the cage slightly taller than the front so that I could grow taller plants in the back like broccoli or romaine.

The final measurements and other supplies:
2x4s = 12" (2 for the back) and 8" (2 for the front). 
1x2s = cut according to my raised bed with the top side pieces being slightly longer to angle up.
2 exterior hinges
2 1/2' wood screws (and bolts to make it easier to remove for summer planting)
Deer resistant mesh
Staple Gun to attach mesh to the frame

Assemble the pieces on a flat surface.  We used the garage.  Then attach it to the raised bed.  Since I have a fence behind my garden, I can just rest my cage against the fence when it's open.  Otherwise, just get another 2x4 to prop it open while you plant/harvest.
 As of today, my spring lettuce is ready to eat and not a single critter has sampled them first!

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