After two seasons in the raised garden beds around Gil’s yard, the critters had found their way into them! They began digging through the bottom fencing, and running amok along the top in early Spring to munch on seedlings. I found I wasn’t able to grow much in them until I established more perennials and flowers so I could hide young vegetables among them. So I decided it might be best to also have a vegetable garden well-caged and safe from the surrounding mice, rats, ground squirrels and chipmunks.
I chose a walk-in chicken coop as a frame, and moved in some older raised garden beds inside before building the cage sides. With no real soil yet for these, I decided to raise my seedlings in boxes, and placed them inside straw directly in their boxes. This actually worked well!
The sides of the cage were 1″ chicken wire, so I added layers of netting and hardware cloth.
Some success in the caged garden. As the Bobcat Fire has eradicated most of our bees this year, I had to hand-pollinate our squashes.
At the end of the growing season, I came to the conclusion that:
1. I did not like that I could not reach the far corners of the beds. As the sides were up against the back walls of the cage, I couldn’t get around or reach them. So as the Summer wore on, I lost growing space.
2. The garden beds were too shallow and needed more depth for the root systems as the vegetables grew.
I reworked the metal sides to create a proper keyhole bed and began to rebuild the soil for the Winter. I had a happy Chard still going, so I left it in there for now.
I have added a tall back to the garden so I can bring it up higher in places, deepen the soil and add some shade/windscreen dynamic to the whole thing. It’s also brought into the center enough for me to get around the sides when necessary.
Building soil. Layers of dirt, compost, cardboard, straw, horse manure and bermuda grass. I’ll be added some more compost and top soil before seeding it with cover crop. Stay tuned!