Since starting my first edible garden this summer there was one thing I knew I would have to deal with. Animals. Our house backs up to an open space that is essentially a deer highway, and birds, fox, and other furry woodland creatures are all around us.
I’d seen many options for how to build all different kinds of cages, so I decided to borrow from what I found and adjust it to meet my needs. Here’s what I came up with, and how I did it. To be totally honest, I made some mistakes along the way, so I’ll tell you about those, too, and what I did to fix them.
There will be a shopping list at the end of the post.
My garden is 2′ wide and my plants are expected to grow about 5′ tall. I made 2 cages, 5′ long each. Once you cut your pipe to length, attach them with the 3-way elbows. You can use glue to affix them, or just push the pieces together like I did. I primarily did that because I knew I would make mistakes.
Next I fastened the deer netting with zip ties. This wasn’t difficult, but it took a while. You want to make sure the netting is pulled tight so it doesn’t flap and get caught up in your plants.
This was my first big mistake. Do you see it? I left the bottom of the cage unstructured. PVC pipe is very durable, but it’s also pretty flexible. When I tried to move it around it wobbled like jello. Not good.
I framed out the bottom so that it stood more firmly. Sadly, that wasn’t the whole problem. The cage was sturdier now, but it was still to flimsy to handle. I could get it over my small plants, but there was no way I would be able to lift it over 5′ tall sprouts. That’s a problem.
It took some thinking, but here’s what I came up with. I cut down the front sides of the cage just inside the PVC pipe. I got another length of pipe, slightly longer than 5′ and some end caps. I filled it with sand for extra weight and zip-tied it to the (now) loose netting.
Now when I need to get to the plants I just lift the flap, do what I need to do, and replace the flap! It’s a beautiful thing.
5 10-foot PVC pipes (3/4″)
8 3-way PVC pipe fitting (3/4″)
2 PVC end caps (3/4″)
PVC pipe cutter
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