Making a Planting Bed with Wire Mesh
An in-ground planting bed that is lined with wire will protect the plants from invasion by pests such as moles. You can make one out of ordinary wire mesh and use the same material to create rabbit-proof sides or a bird-repelling top. Larger planting beds may need to have some framing support, but a simple bed only needs a few tools and some common pieces of hardware.
Step 1 - Mark Bed Layout
A typical wire mesh planting bed measures 6 feet long by 4 feet wide. Mark out the ground in those dimensions. Use wire that is 4 feet tall, and cut several sections. Cut 2 pieces that measure 10 feet long, 1 piece that is 6 feet long, and a final section that is 7 feet in length.
Step 2 - Plant Bed Excavation
Dig out your planting bed with straight vertical sides. Dig down to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Keep in mind that the deeper your planting bed extends into the ground, the less room is available for growth above ground, without modifying the design.
Step 3 - Line the Planting Bed
Drive survey stakes or pieces of PVC pipe into the corners of the hole, so that you have four 36 inch corner supports. Place the 6 foot piece of wire mesh in the bottom of the hole.
Use the two long pieces to wrap the sides of the hole, folding them at the six foot length. Work the corners carefully into the hole so that they fit outside the stakes, sliding between the stake and the undisturbed soil.
Step 4 - Add Soil
Mix one wheelbarrow of sifted compost into the pile of soil. Mix it well. Add two inches of mulch in the bottom, covering the wire mesh, and then fill the hole with the conditioned soil mixture.
Any remaining soil after the hole has been filled and packed can be broadcast over the surrounding area, or even mixed back into your compost over time.
Step 5 - Wire Mesh Safety
Use the lineman's pliers to bend sharp points around the adjacent piece of wire, locking the mesh together. This only needs to be done once in every 6 inches of wire. The remaining wire tips can be snipped off and disposed of. Wear gloves when working with wire mesh, as it has many sharp edges that can cause injury.
Step 6 - Hang Wire Mesh Baskets
Another idea is to make a raised planting bed, or hanging basket. Cut two pieces of wire mesh that are 24 inches square. Place them over one another so that the four corners of each piece stick out over a flat side of the other piece.
Fold the corners over. One piece will have corners folding "upward" and the other will fold under. Mold the mesh into a bowl shape, and line it with mulch. Add soil and plants.