Gophers, voles and ground squirrels love to feast on the succulent roots of your favorite plants. Although the sides of a raised bed may slow them down, these pests will quickly learn to dig in from beneath the bed. Fortunately, the box-like structure of a raised bed makes it simple to protect your garden. Hardware cloth, a wire mesh sometimes used for fencing, provides a sturdy barrier that protects your plants from digging rodents without sacrificing the aesthetics of the bed.
1 Remove the soil from the raised bed and place it on a tarp or in a wheelbarrow outside of the garden area. Remove the soil to the depth of the raised bed or to an 8-inch depth in deep raised beds.
2 Measure the interior of the bed with a measuring tape. Cut a piece of hardware cloth to these dimensions, using wire snips. Use hardware cloth with one-half-inch mesh opening.
3 Lay the sheet of hardware cloth inside the raised bed. The cloth prevents rodents from burrowing up into the bed.
4 Place the soil back into the bed, covering the hardware cloth. Plant the bed as desired.
5 Cut a second length of hardware cloth to fit the bed. Cut holes in the wire for the plants to grow through. Lay the wire over the bed and cover it with a thin layer of mulch. This prevents squirrels and other rodents from digging down into the bed from the top.
Items you will need
- Tarp or wheelbarrow
- Measuring tape
- Hardware cloth
- Wire snips
- Wear gloves when working with soil to avoid soilborne pathogens. The gloves also protect your hands from the wire when you are cutting and handling the hardware cloth.
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