Po-boy & The Garlic: Or how to protect your vegetables with a secure garden enclosure

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. . .

Cat at peace with backyard chickens

He’s welcome to climb the persimmon tree. . .

Po-boy climbs the persimmon tree by the chicken coop

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.

How to protect vegetable garden from predators

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.)

Hardware cloth cage protects vegetables from rabbits and deer

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. 

Secure wired enclosure for raised vegetable garden bed

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.

Secure vegetable from rabbits and squirrels

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.

Vegetable garden protected from deer and other animals

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.

Garden cage to keep cat out

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!


5 thoughts on “Po-boy & The Garlic: Or how to protect your vegetables with a secure garden enclosure”

  1. Hello! I stumbled upon this old post and had to smile at your garlic coop. I built enclosures for my strawberry beds years ago, and during the build, my husband commented that it looked like I was making a rabbit hutch. Ever since then, we’ve called the enclosures our strawberry hutches. They are not nearly as secure as yours, but still holding together almost 20 years later.

  2. My mom has had to enclose her blueberries with a mesh cage in order to harvest the berries. The birds clean her out if she doesn’t. I, on the other hand, don’t have a problem with the critters in my yard. I can’t keep dill long enough to harvest for the caterpillars. Bunnies, squirrels and mice seem to leave me alone. Lucky me. I will be making a screen for my next crop of dill though. Thanks for sharing! I will be forwarding this to my daughter who has a problem with deer eating her garden like it’s a buffet.

  3. That’s awesome. Great idea!

    We’ve had to plant all root vegetables, as the squirrels eat everything above ground. I haven’t had a blueberry from my potted bush for four years! Little fuzzy-tailed buggers snag them off just as they’re starting to ripen. If I wasn’t renting, I’d build a cage big enough for both raised beds, with room/height for sunflowers and corn.


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