Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Saving Deck Plants from Hungry Critters

Rigid plastic utility mesh.
Space is limited in my float garden. You can only grow so much in four one by two metre beds. Consequently, I use pots spread around our cabin deck to grow things like potatoes, beans, peas, squash, rhubarb, garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, small ornamental trees, and flowers.

My float has a natural critter deterrent. It's on a pulley system. I bring it in to work, and send it out to float along a log boom in the lake. It's watery moat keeps hungry critters away. But not so for my deck pots.

Cutting the mesh to size was easy.
My main enemies are woodrats (also known as packrats) and mice. Both rodents love the fresh young shoots and leaves from my plants. Leave, stems and whole plants can get stripped overnight. It's so disappointing, not to mention expensive in cost, time and energy.

I hand "sewed" it into a cylinder.
After an attack on my pepper plants, I decided to fight back. I made two pot covers.

I was going to get chicken wire, but I found something better, Quest Plastic Rigid Utility Mesh. It was easy to use, the holes were smaller (1/2 inch), it was 3-feet high, and cost less. The 15-foot roll was plenty with extra for later use.

Cutting a circle to sew on the top.
I measured the circumference of the pot, added several inches for growth and cut the mesh with utility scissors. I then used polypropelene twine to hand "sew" the two sides together to make a cylinder.

Then I cut a circle to sew on the top. I didn't want the critters to climb the side like a ladder to get in the pot.

Easy to lift off for watering and tending.
The protective cages are tall and wide enough to allow for plant growth. They let in the sunshine and won't blow away.

Now my peppers are safe to regrow and start producing. After one week they already have a few pepper sets.

And they look pretty professional.

The mesh cage is easy to lift off for watering and to pick peppers once they get large enough to harvest. But now I wonder where the little critters will attack next? -- Margy


  1. You could grow anything, you green thumb!

    1. I only tell the good stories mostly. There have been a few failures along the way. - Margy

  2. It is amazing how much you grow on your decks and garden! We too have rats but I feed them by throwing leftovers on to the sea wall. That seems to keep them satisfied and they leave my plants alone. I just hope they don't tell all their friends!!!! Xxxx

    1. How is your allotment doing? Sounds like you have pots on the deck of the barge in addition to that. - Margy

  3. Great idea to protect your food.

    1. I've been gone for a week. Hope when I get home they haven't picked another pot to raid. - Margy

  4. A clever idea - hope the plants grow tall and strong.