Here in the city, we don’t have to worry so much about our vegetable garden getting gobbled up by foragers like deer or rabbits. But we do have our own band of interlopers to contend with: squirrels, crows, and, in our case, a curious tomcat named Po-boy.
Po-boy is our neighbors’ cat. He’s adorable, and he’s perfectly welcome in our yard. He’s welcome to visit the chickens. . .
He’s welcome to climb the persimmon tree. . .
But he’s no longer welcome to frolic in our garlic.
See, we plant a small crop of garlic every fall. In a single raised bed, we can harvest enough garlic to season our family’s food for a year, plus some extra for seeding and sharing. Last spring, Po-boy simply couldn’t resist the sight of it — rows of deep green stalks, standing as tall as young corn. It was his own private field of dreams!
At harvest time, we reaped what he’d mowed. His crop circles had greatly reduced the size and yield of our garlic. This spring, for the first time in years, we had to (gulp) buy garlic. Like at the store.
If you love your vegetable bed, set a cage on top of it.
So for the next go-round, we set one of our quarter-height Garden Run enclosures on top of the planted bed to protect the young plants and give them a chance at at fuller life. The protective enclosure worked perfectly, letting in rain, air, and sunshine while keeping out the squirrels, crows. . . and Po-boy.
The Garden Run quarter-height and half-height enclosures have the same footprint as our raised vegetable garden beds. We designed the beds that way on purpose so they’d match the enclosures and The Garden Ark mobile chicken tractor. (Here’s how to size and build the raised garden beds.)
People fashion garden cages all the time to protect their backyard vegetables from deer, rabbits, squirrels, and so on. The Garden Run plans make building them easy, and they let you extend a system of raised beds that are easy to build, easy to secure from above and below, use minimal lumber, and are sized (roughly 3′ x 5’*) so that you can work your garden easily from either side.
* I should mention, I’m not a fan of the oft-recommended 4′ width of raised beds. I find a roughly 3′ width more practical and easier to manage for a small garden.
Best of all, given that The Garden Run enclosures are strong and secure enough to keep unwanted beasts away from your yummy, juicy chickens, you know they’ll do the same for your carrots, zucchini, lettuce, and kale.
Again, both the quarter- and half-height Garden Run enclosures will fit atop a modest raised bed. The walk-in enclosure could be placed over a larger square- or L-shaped bed, or used to surround a bush or small tree. You can even vine something decorative or fragrant over the top.
Our garlic has never looked so good. I can’t wait to harvest it in July. As for Po-boy, he’s doing just fine without his allium playground.
He still has the persimmon tree, and a very active imagination. . . .
What garden invaders do you contend with in your area? How? Leave a comment below to share your tips and ideas!