Thursday, May 12, 2016

Plant Protective Cages

A pesky woodrat.
At the cabin, I have a terrible problem with critters eating my garden produce. I'm willing to share, but woodrats (also known as packrats) just mow things down and leave them lying on the ground, presumably to dry before taking them to their nest for storage.


Typical woodrat harvesting, cut and stack.
During spring, and again in the fall, woodrats are most prevalent. This year, I decided to take defensive action rather than wait for trouble. My float garden has a protective moat when it's pulled out into the lake, but not my deck pots.



Adding driftwood sticks for extra support.
After a nasty attack last year, I purchased Quest Plastic Rigid Utility Mesh at Canadian Tire. It has 1/2 inch holes, is 3-feet high, 15-feet long, is less expensive than chicken wire, and easier to work with.

Clothes pins hold bird netting over the top.
Last year I learned: 1) I needed to make the cages larger to allow for plant growth. 2) Even though the plastic is somewhat rigid, larger cages need extra support to keep the tops from collapsing. 3) And most important, the tops need to open for easier harvesting.

The completed protective cage around my pepper pots.

For easier harvesting, this year I used clothes pins to hold a double layer of Bird d-Fence netting over the tops. All I have to do is unclip one side, push the net back, harvest, then return the protective netting.

Deck pots lined up in a row. Only the potatoes remain uncovered for now.

It doesn't work for mice, but is a perfect protective cage for larger critters like squirrels and woodrats. Do you use pots for container gardening? Do you have critter troubles? What are your solutions? -- Margy

10 comments:

  1. And I thought the raccoons were a problem! I need a new fence, too. And someone to rototill. And amended soil. I just cannot face it!

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    1. I've only seen a raccoon at the cabin once, over then years ago. I think that would be way worse than a woodrat. - Margy

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  2. We did exactly the same for growing beans last year, though they weren't in pots. And this year I've used chicken wire to fence off a 5 foot square, in the hopes we can grow some lettuce and stuff.

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    1. I don't mind sharing when they leave something for me, but not so with woodrats. - Margy

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  3. I am so lucky - no critters as I am a quarter mile from the big trees. Mom lives right at the big tree line and deals with all sorts including deer, last night a racoon and lots of squirrels. Me, just earwigs in my yard that am determined not to feed:(

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    1. I remember earwigs from camping as a kid. They were always in the food cabinets at the end of the picnic tables. My problem is sow bugs and slugs. - Margy

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  4. I like to container garden and have had no varmint problem there but the larger gardens the deer love the tasty new sprouts. We have fences and netting over the Blueberries and Thornless Blackberries--birds love all berries. Out in the woods and back pasture there are several huge blackberry areas. why don't the birds eat there???
    MB

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    1. With our steep cliff no bears or deer come to visit. My thoughts exactly, why does the woodrat want my garden with a whole forest at his disposal? - Margy

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  5. Clever idea. I generally don't have critter problems - but sometimes a squirrel will dig up bulbs in my planters and yesterday something dug a deep hole in one of the pansy pots - have no idea who it could be.

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    1. We have a gray squirrel come visit once in a while. He will take things like strawberries or something already in my compost bucket, but I don't think he eats my green plants at least. - Margy

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