Keeping critters out of your square-foot garden can be accomplished with chicken wire rolls attached to a wood frame to create a cage. One of the advantages of chicken wire is that it can be bent, twisted and shaped into just about any shape. If you're one of the millions of people with a square-foot garden, that's good news for protecting your crops from creatures who want to feast on the fruits of your labor.
Depending on the size and configuration of your square-foot garden, chicken wire can be formed into a cage and attached to a wood frame that drops over your garden to deter pests. It can also be easily lifted to allow you to harvest, weed or tend to your plants.
Tools and Items You'll Need
- Heavy gloves
- Chicken Wire
- Wire cutters
- Cable ties or a staple gun
- 2x2-inch lumber
- 8 3/4-inch wood screws
- Drill and drill bits
- Measuring tape
- 8 L-shaped metal brackets or 4 corner braces
Step 1: Measure Your Square Foot Garden
Measure the length and width of your square foot garden to the edge of the frame. Add 2 inches to each dimension.
Step 2: Build Your Wood Frame
Using the 2x2-inch lumber, build a frame to the dimensions you measured. Using your drill and drill bits, pre-drill holes for your wood screws in each end of the lumber and attach each end to create the frame. Use the L-shaped metal brackets or corner braces at each corner to re-enforce the corners. Lay the completed frame on top of the square-foot garden frame to ensure it drops down easily on all sides, like the lid on a box.
Step 3: Build Your Wire Cage
Chicken wire is sharp! Wearing heavy gloves will keep you from getting stuck. Roll out your chicken wire. The width of the roll should be wide enough to cover your plants at their full growth. You'll need a helper (they should wear gloves, too). Lay the frame down on the ground and place the chicken wire along one side of the frame so it overlaps the wood by about an inch. Staple the wire to the frame every inch or so until you reach the corner. Then cut the wire about 1 to 2 inches longer than the length of the frame. Do this all the way around the frame. When you have wire on all 4 sides, wrap the wire up around the frame and staple the wire to the side of the frame as well. Your corners will be very sharp and flopping around, so be careful. Once you have two sides stapled this way join the corner wire by bending and interlocking the chicken wire. Use cable ties to join the wire together. Repeat for all corners.
Set the frame on top of another piece of chicken wire and trim to the correct dimensions for the top of the cage. Lay that piece or pieces of wire on top of the wire frame. Bend the edges of the wire downward so they don't stick. Attach the top all the way around by bending and using cable ties to secure it. Remember, you'll be lifting this frame off repeatedly throughout the summer. Now, test it out to make sure it fits your square-foot garden frame and is easy to lift on and off.