Gardening-Raised Beds

Several years ago, I built several raised beds in my garden.  I love them for some of my gardening.  Because I am an avid gardener and depend on my garden for eating and preserving  vegetables for the months of nongardening weather,  I can’t grow enough of the main vegetables (beans, sweet corn, limas & tomatoes) in 5’x10′ raised beds to meet my needs.

I really like my raised beds for radishes, lettuce, onions, cabbage, broccoli, and squash.  In the spring, the soil in the beds drains better so I can plant my early spring items before you can even dream of planting in the main garden. If a late frost threatens, they is easy to cover with old sheets.

In the fall, when the weeds have taken over the main garden, I can quickly work up the soil in the raised beds and plant my fall crops. I can winterize the main garden without the fall planting being in the way.

I have never, in all my years in Powhatan, had trouble with deer in my garden until the last two years. My yard and garden was far enough away from the woods and they just did not come this way. Last year they found my strawberries.  They ate the plants as if it was a buffet laid out just for them.  Their tracks revealed that perhaps they gathered around the raised beds and blessed the food before partaking! Bless their hearts!!!

I put hoops over the beds and covered with netting. I used one large piece of netting and hooked it around the sides with nails tilled slightly downward. It worked, but was a little difficult to work with.

This spring I discovered deer tracks all over the garden, up in the raised beds and around my blackberries. I worked up the beds and planted my spring plants and seeds. The next morning the one of the lettuce plants was totally gone and their hooves had exposed some of the onion sets as they danced across the beds. Rascals. What they don’t know is that now they are on my bad side. That is not a good place to be.  I am like my dad in that such a situation. I have to come up with a creative plan and it needs to be clever, neat and easy to use. After much deliberation, I finally had my plan. I am very pleased-so far-with what I came up with but time will see how it works.

Here is my solution.

I have three 5’x10′ beds for my spring and fall plantings.

For my hoops, I used 1/2″x10′ PVC pressure water tubes (Outside diameter of tube is 3/4″). I drilled holes in my railroad ties and simply stuck the ends into the holes. The tubes are sturdy but also bend into a nice hoop.  I used three hoops plus one tube across the top of the hoops and fastened using a single screw through each hoop to make them sturdy and not tilt over.  It took a total of four tubes for each bed.

I made panels from 1″ square vinyl deer barrier fence (this is heavier that netting) by weaving a 1/2″x10′ Flowguard tube through the fencing.  The flowguard tubing is a little smaller in diameter than the PVC and worked perfect with the fencing.

We screwed J-hooks into the hoops near top of the hoop for the top tube of the panel to rest on.  I wove another tube through the bottom of the fencing to hold it down. Because of the horseshoe shape curve of the hoop, the top tube only needed to be 4′ but I used the 5′ piece and just let it stick over the side at the top.

The bottom tube of the fence panel is just lying on the railroad tie. To pick my vegetables or work the bed, I can either lift the bottom panel up and rest on the J-hook with the top rail or simply take the panel off and lay on the ground. The 10′ tube worked perfect for the sides and by cutting the tube in half, the 5′ sections worked great for the ends. It took four of the tubes and ten J-hooks for each bed.

Because my strawberry bed is longer, 20′ long, I used a coupler to connect two 10′ pieces together for the side fence panels. It took a total of seven 1/2″x10′ PVC for the hoops and twelve 1/2″x10′ Flowguard for the fence panels.

Ok, deer friends, I hope I have you beat!  But now my worry will be the main garden and my blackberries, which they have already been feasting on.

And in case you are wondering, deer friends, there is a penalty to pay if you try to beat the system. Just ask Mr. Groundhog. Ooops, you can’t!!!  The Scoundrel.

Five Weeks later.

I am so pleased with my netting system. The deer have not been able to bother the plants and it is easy to work with.

Lettuce and radishes.

Spring onions.




1 Comment »

  1. Gerry Said:

    What a clever person you are. I hope the deer can’t get to it! Hard work. Keep us all updated.

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