How to Keep Squirrels Out of Raised Garden Beds
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Are you planning or planting your vegetable garden this year and need a way to keep pesky squirrels out of your raised garden beds so they can’t go digging for seeds or eat growing plants? I have an easy and inexpensive DIY solution for you. It will keep squirrels, as well as birds and deer out of your vegetable garden without harming them.
Last spring, Ed and I started a vegetable garden in our side yard.
In my mind, I would have loved a garden house like this, but I had to be realistic.
Instead we created a very functional and easy to access kitchen garden using 4 elevated garden beds that I stained, two metal arches and 4 round barrel-style planters. We covered the area with a layer of pine straw mulch.
We had some growing successes – a few varieties of kale, carrots, and lettuce. But a few fails as the summer went on that we mainly attributed to squirrels burying their nuts and looking for seeds as well as birds making their meals out of the garden.
Since the planters are elevated – we didn’t have any rodents, mice, or moles which is a good thing.
This year we had to come up with an easy way to protect the elevated garden beds from the squirrels and birds with physical barriers rather than repelling them with chemicals or a natural squirrel repellents that would have to be resprayed often.
We also didn’t think a sprinkler, fence or noisemakers made out of aluminum foil or shiny discs would deter them for the long run.
After doing some research, I liked what an Australian gardener I found on YouTube did to deter pests from getting in his raised garden beds.
We didn’t create the barriers for the raised planters exactly the same way he did, but came pretty close
How to Make a Raised Garden Bed Squirrel Proof
To keep squirrels and other critters out of the raised beds, we used a few items from the home improvement store.
It took Ed and me about an hour to squirrel proof planters and keep the garden planters from becoming bird feeders again this year.
Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Raised Beds
- Measure Raised Beds or Planter
To figure out how many hoops and how much netting or chicken wire you will need, measure the width and depth of the garden bed. Also consider how tall you want each hoop to be so tall growing vegetables will have plenty of space to grow.
We cut the hose into 6-ft long sections which made the hoop 30-inches high.
- Cut Bamboo Stakes
Using a hacksaw, cut the stakes to the size needed.
- Place Cut Stakes in Planter
Place one stake vertically in each corner of the planter and one spaced along the center outer edge on each side of the planter.
- Place Hose Over Bamboo Stakes to Create Hoops
Place one end of the cut to length hose over a bamboo stake and the the other end over the stake across the planter from it.
Repeat for the other stakes. Each bamboo stake will be covered by the hose.
- Attach Top Stake
Using cable or twist ties – attach another stake horizontally across the top of the hoops.
Cut excess tie away.
- Cut Squirrel Netting
Cut the squirrel or bird netting to the size needed to drape over the hoops and long enough to fall just past the top of the planter.
- Pull Netting Taut
Pull the netting taut to each side and the ends of the planter. You may have to bunch or twist the excess netting together to create a taut fit. Use spring clamps to hold the netting taut and in place. Keeping the netting taut will eliminate birds getting stuck in the netting.
Note: There is better netting than what we used that is safer for birds. You can find it in the resources section at the end of this post.
When pulling the netting taut, the hoops may lean, but that doesn’t effect the functionality of the protective barrier.
How to Squirrel Proof Tomato Cages
We also had to build squirrel proof tomato cages that would not only keep them out, but their bird pals also.
We cut hardware cloth to size and wrapped it around the inside diameter of the barrel planters. In the planter is one tomato plant surrounded by a tomato cage for it to grow on.
We still are deciding on cutting circles from the hardware cloth to place on top as a lid and then use the tips of the wire to attach to the vertical hardware cloth. We could also cover with bird netting and clamp it taut.
Do you have a vegetable garden? How do you keep birds and squirrels out of your garden?
Video: How-to Make Raised Garden Bed Covers
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Set up rat traps. Problem solved.
Last summer I bought two hanging cherry tomato plants that had red and yellow tomatoes together and they were prolific producers. BUT, the squirrels got almost all of them. The tomatoes were like their crack! Soooo, this year I am going to try hanging them on a really tall greased double shepherds hook in the middle of the yard so those darn squirrels can’t jump or climb onto it. Someday when my kids’ trampoline is old I might use the frame as a base for a covered garden. I envision running garden wire around the circle and put a pole in the ground in the middle with netting over the whole thing. It will look like a see through circus tent, lol.
You have a beautiful garden. I can tell you and Ed have put a lot of work into it. I hope you have a bumper crop!
Smart thinking! Your contraptions look like covered wagons from the wild West!
We do what we have to keep the buggers out!!! Keep a watch on the bird netting….squirrels are crafty and may chew through to get into those raised beds. Enjoy your veggies 🥗
I did the same thing with my tomato plants. After the season is finished, I remove them and store them on the exposed rafters in my garage. I also wrapped the top edge with duct tape to keep my arms from getting scratched.
Nothing like homegrown produce!
Diane, I love your bed covers! Easy & very natural-looking, too. I’ve been gardening since I could “toddle”the rows with my grandparents in WI, & @ 64, it is an extension of who I am. I can express my creativity, marvel @ God’s perfect design & be completely removed from stress/anxiety of life.
I’d encourage you to start your crops from organic seeds—things grow so quickly in your region & it provides 1 more layer of knowing ‘where your plants started’. After 6 decades of gardening, I never cease to be awed by a emerging seedling, or the reemergence of a dormant perennial!
Clever using clamps to hold the netting, so easy to get in and out of! I had two raised beds and used plastic over the hoops in fall and heartier plants and herbs survived the winter in zone 5. This year though everything will be in one big bed, surrounded by elk netting, that’s how big my deer problem is. I like your metal arch, it looks much nicer than cow panel. And love the pine straw!