How to Protect Your Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens From Pets and Vermin

Overview

Growing vegetables in raised beds has several advantages. The soil is richer because it's mostly likely been amended with lots of compost and mulch. It drains well, which vegetables require. It is also easier to protect a raised bed because the bed is already off the ground level by at least 12 inches, which provides a built-in barrier.

Step 1

Remove the soil in the bed. Cut the wire to fit the bottom of the bed. Lay it flat on the ground anchoring it with a few rocks. The wire prevents rabbits and other critters from digging under any fencing and coming up through the bottom of the bed.

Step 2

Pound the stakes around the inside perimeter of the raised bed to a depth of 6 to 12 inches. Place the stakes at 2- to 3-foot intervals.

Step 3

Attach the chicken wire to the stakes by twisting a piece of wire through the chicken wire and around the stake. The bottom of the chicken wire fencing should be at the bottom of the empty raised bed. The top of the chicken wire should be about 6 inches above the tops of the stakes.

Step 4

Bend the top of the chicken wire outward and away from the inside of the bed. This discourages some squirrels and pack rats from climbing the wire.

Step 5

Refill the bed with the soil.

Step 6

Spray the perimeter of the bed and the leaves of the plants on the outside edge of the bed with bitter orange spray to keep dogs away. Commercial sprays may be used as well.

Step 7

Attach strings to the tops of the stakes to go over the length of the bed from one side to the other. Curl strips of aluminum foil over the string. The strips should be long enough to sway in the breeze. This will deter birds from the garden. If necessary netting may be laid over the top of the chicken wire fencing for further protection.

Step 8

Deter cats by spreading a commercially available sticky substance on the material used for the perimeter of the raised bed. The cats won't like the substance on their paws and will learn to leave the bed alone. The sticky substance, normally used to get rid of birds, is removed with cooking oil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Bait traps on the inside of the fenced beds if rats and mice become a serious problem. Don't use poison in the traps.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken wire 36 inches high with 1-inch holes
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire
  • Stakes 36 inches tall
  • Shovel
  • Stakes
  • Bitter orange spray
  • Aluminum foil

References

  • "Great Ideas for Your Garden"; Courtier et al; 2003
  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003

Who Can Help

  • Arizona Master Gardener Manual
Keywords: protect raised beds, protecting vegetable beds, vegetable bed protection

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on GardenGuides.com, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.