Sunday, March 29, 2009

How to Protect Vegetables from Groundhogs, Rabbits and Squirrels, Part 1: A Chicken Wire Raised Bed Cover

Dear Messrs. Groundhog, Rabbit, and Squirrel,

My friends over at Gardening Gone Wild asked me to write to you to discuss the status of our current dispute. While I have such a harmonious relationship with so much of the other wildlife in the garden--the birds, the toads, the salamanders--I regret that our relationship has become so acrimonious, particularly as it relates to the vegetables.

While I am flattered that you like the vegetables as much as (or perhaps even more than) we do, I find that your appetites leave something to be desired, namely leftovers. Last year, the garlic spray kept you away from many of the vegetables, but I was disappointed to still find teeth marks on my vine-ripened tomatoes and zucchinis, not to mention the fruitless pumpkin and watermelon vines whose flowers you devoured. I can no longer bear your rude interruptions.

In response, I have asked my dear husband to make a simple, custom-fit chicken wire vegetable box cover to keep you away. What it lacks in aesthetic contribution to the garden, I hope it makes up in efficacy. In the future, please find food elsewhere in the wild or, if I may be so bold to suggest, cultivate your own vegetables.

Best wishes,

Heirloom Gardener
UPDATE: Part 2 of this series discusses adding chicken wire around the post and rail fence. Part 3 of this series discusses reinforcements to chicken wire raised bed cover after a break-in.
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Nan Ondra said...

I wish you luck, HG! The cover certainly does look like it would keep out just about any of the critters you mention, though I wouldn't put it past them to try sitting or bouncing on it (and wouldn't that be a spectacle?). Let's hope for the best.

heirloomgardener said...

Oh Nan, I hope not, but I'll let you know!

Sue said...

I hope those critters read your note and take heed! Thanks for the laugh!

Bren said...

I hope this works for you. IT was wonderful for you to share this information with other gardeners. We don't have this problem in the B.Ggarden.

Happy Spring!

lynn'sgarden said...

Tha's some contraption...but it sure looks critter proof! Thanks for the "Best of" in your previous post..I will definitely be reading many! Enjoy the sun today :)

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

An interesting letter .... the message do get across for sure, not necessarily to the pest but the gardeners like us... is a race on "survival of the fittest" ... cheers! ~ bangchik

Anonymous said...

This is what I need! I am breaking up with the bunnies, post haste. But a question -- I have staked tomatoes in my raised bed, which are hardly compatible with your lovely contraption. Any ideas?

heirloomgardener said...


My tomato seedlings are still inside, so my choices will be to build a taller cage or live with the consequences of using only the garden spray. In either case, our entire vegetable garden is surrounded by an additional fence which I need to reinforce (better vertical slats and added chicken wire).

Best Wishes,

Heirloom Gardener

Cecile said...

My ten year old made a similar contraption - just not as elegantly finished as your box. He added a nerf gun.

We also spray alternating with peppermint soap & a fermented garlic/hot chili mix recommended by an elderly neighbor.

We've found the NJ critters allow us to harvest herbs, some pumpkins, cucumbers, arugula, lettuce, onion family & small cherry type tomatoes without spraying. Thousands of green tomatoes have "mysteriously" disappeared from our yard. The small tomatoes are harder for the critters to get to, but easy for kids.

We'll move from ever bearing strawberries to June to shorten the struggle. said...

Really worthwhile data, much thanks for the post.

alex amarxon said...

To do so is to misunderstand the entropy that governs tragic spaces like these; they slowly but surely degrade back into what they always were, once the people who walked their paths and spoke their significance will pass on. It's also to misunderstand the process of healing.
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