Enclosed garden structures

agility_mom(z9 AZ)October 27, 2010

We have so many pests in my area that my husband and I are going to build an enclosed garden structure that will keep the squirrels, rabbits and birds out of my garden beds so that we can actually get most of what I grow.

An idea that I had was putting more than one of those carports like you pick up at Harbour Freight or Home Depot(12' X 20')together, putting in a footing and then covering that in a metal mesh like hardware cloth. We could add new ones as we get the money.

I could even encase it in plastic sheeting for a temporary greenhouse or in the hotter months top it off with sunscreen.

My questions are , does anyone else have an enclosed structure and does anyone know a better way of doing this?

We could buy the steel square tube and weld it together but it is pretty costly doing it that way.

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I did this last year with 2x2's and shade cloth that I bought from somewhere downtown. I was having problems with birds taking one bite out of each tomato. Originally, it was only to be a shade screen over the top, but we added it to the sides to keep them out. It worked and was fairly inexpensive, but your idea sounds a lot more permanent, I wanted to be able to move mine. I used shade cloth - zip ties, staples,etc. I painted it a bright primary blue and put a hand painted sign on the front "welcome to our garden", hung wind chimes, etc. It was pretty cute and saved my maters!!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 4:27PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Umnmmm, do you have a picture of that pretty 2x2 structure? I'd like to see how it was put together.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 7:19PM
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I was thinking of doing exactly the same thing, except my motivation was to keep out the hot Arizona sun from burning my plants in the summer. I found this to build an enclosed garden for not a lot of money. http://www.lostcreek.net/dyseriesbender4999.html Take a look. I bought it, but have not gotten around to doing it. If you are in the area, I wouldn't mind lending it to you and see if you can do it. I'm in Gilbert, AZ. My husband and I started working on it, but we kind of got stuck. Maybe you are more handy.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 9:49PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

I really like this hoop idea and have looked at it before. Which kit do you have, 10', 12' etc.? And how long is the structure? It sounds like you have a 'kit' but instructions are lacking. Is this the sitch?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 10:26PM
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I have the hoop bender for the 10 foot structure. I saw their video and it looks easy, but my problem is that I have kids and we are really busy. They get in the way when we want to do projects. I tried mounting the bender on two posts in the ground rather than on a table, because I didn't have a table available. Well, of course that didn't work because I didn't mount it high enough before the ground got in the way of the pole being bent. So, if you are interested, I would suggest building the mounting table the way they do it in the instruction. Or if you have a truck, you can mount it there as well. We don't have a truck though.

Let me know if you want to try it.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 12:44PM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

rachel, I have had the same thing happen to my tomatoes. The last straw for me was when I went out to pick tomatoes and the whole bush was stripped of the dozen or so medium sized ripe tomatoes as well as the green ones. I think that was squirrels.
If not for the squirrels and rabbits, this thing would be a whole lot easier and cheaper to build.
Your garden sounds like a fun place to be.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 12:44PM
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I've had a terrible problem with birds eating my seedlings and lettuce plants. So I used electrical conduit to make a frame over my garden and covered it with bird netting. This summer I put shade cloth over the top for my tomatoes and peppers.

I have to say that I think it may keep out bees and other pollinators because I didn't have much of a melon or squash crop this summer.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 12:46PM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

Interesting site. I like that you use metal instead of PVC.
After watching the video, I can see where you would really want to build the table.
I have a similar problem as you right now. We need something that is quick because we have so much going on. So, while this looks like a really good system, I think that I will have to go with something faster to assemble right now.
Thank you for your kind offer :)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 1:16PM
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I do have pics, but don't know how to put them on here. Before I enclosed the structure, I used red xmas ornaments on my tomato cages, it worked till the birds wisened up, it was funny to watch!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 1:02PM
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Here are some pictures of my cage. We made it out of 2" PVC and Stucco Wire. It's incredibly sturdy and I had shade cloth over it all summer. Hardware cloth is very expensive and IMO you don't need the holes to be that small to protect against critters. Stucco wire is essentially the same as chicken wire but much cheaper - you can buy it in 150' rolls at Home Depot for $40. PVC works very well but no smaller than 2" otherwise it will be unstable if your structure is large. Wood should also work well. Check out the video of my garden to see more. Hope it helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden walk-through

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 12:51AM
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Love your enclosed garden kingkongos. I plan on building some trellises to grow some Armenian cucumbers on. I see you are growing some squashes on some overhead trellises. What are some of the better vegetables to grow on a trellis? I'm not looking for an exhaustive list. Just what you have been successful with.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 11:28AM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

You have a great garden. Thanks for the pictures and tips!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 12:18PM
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Birds are not a big problem for me. We have a cat. I'm thinking of buying a small portable greenhouse to start tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, melons and sunflowers in before spring. I already settled on the one I want. Its just big enough to do the job.

They come in three sizes. I will be using the small one. I like that the steel frame is heavy duty compared to any of the others in the same price range.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shelterlogic Grow-It Greenhouses

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 5:34PM
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@thisisme: Armenian cucumbers work great on a trellis, I wouldn't want to grow them any other way. Things that I have tried and have worked well for me are:

-Peas & Pole/yardlong beans
-Many kinds of squash including Buttercup, Butternut, Gem, Spaghetti

As long as your trellis is sturdy (I use concrete reinforcement wire), you can grow most vining plants on it. I wouldn't try large pumpkins or very large watermelons of course....but even certain heavy melons etc can be grown if you are diligent about supporting their weight with a sling of some sort...many people use pantyhose. My trellis (and the vines) handled multiple 3-4lb squashes at a time without a problem.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 9:02PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

LOVE the pics, Kong! You've got a great garden. This is a fun, interesting thread too. It definitely gives me a craving to grow even more edibles.

Happy gardening all,

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 2:11PM
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arizonny(z9 Tempe)

OK. We're all going to kingkongos to check this out in person. Who's driving?

Very nice set-up kk. I'm "green" with envy :)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 10:59PM
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What kind of watering system do you use? It looks like on the video and pictures above that you are using soaker hoses. For all of your beds?

Awesome setup. When I grow up, I want to be just like you!


    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 12:28PM
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haha, thanks azbookworm!

I actually use 1/2" drip tubing with the 1gph emitters built into it every 12". It's extremely efficient in every way and does not clog up like a traditional soaker hose would. I use it on all my beds. Each bed as its own shut-off valve which makes growing things like garlic soo much easier. The beds inside the cage are on one station and the beds outside are on another (the reason for this is that the beds inside the cage are filled with a soil mixture that retains less water than my clay/compost beds outside). Those 2 stations are hooked up to a sprinkler program box in the garage. When I mulch heavily, I water 2-3 times a week in the middle of summer for 1.5-2 hours! Below is a link to a rainbird brand with emitters every 18"...I can't find the 12" ones online right now, but I bought the generic brand from my local sprinkler store anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Built-in emitter drip tubing

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 6:53PM
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Thanks so much! I did notice that you have a shut-off valve at the end of at least one bed from the video. Thought that was a grand idea.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:33PM
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Ground squirrels are a much bigger problem for me, as fruit tree netting stops bird depredations, but ground squirrels chew right through it, and they use it for a ladder too. My galvanized stock tank out in the open thwarts them, but I havent been able to shade it. This year I think I will put up the shade structure my DH had for the cars and put shade cloth on it, when I figure out what percentage I need. It tried to fly away when we used it for a garage, but the shade cloth lets the air through, right?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 11:50AM
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