Keeping Critters out of a Desert Garden

It’s really only in the desert that you need to protect your vegetables as ferociously as your livestock.

When your yard looks like this,

Our Yard

your lush, green, growing veggies are a hot commodity for every rabbit, gopher and sparrow within 5 miles.

After coyotes ate three of our cats, we couldn’t spare the emotional turmoil of letting the cats do bunny patrol. We needed a better option. A bunny proof option.

Enter the Vegetable Coop.

The Vegetable Coop

I’ve lived in the desert long enough to know that standard methods for keeping critters out of the garden just don’t work here.

Barriers made our of PCV pipe and bird netting might last one season before the heat of the desert sun destroys them.

So, rather than spend more money to rebuild every season, we decided to do it right from the beginning, and build it to last. We made a 4×12 raised bed framed with hardwood, with 1/2 inch hardware cloth covering all sides, including the bottom, so not even an gopher can dig under. The front and the top hinge open for easy access, and we painted it red. Because that makes me really happy. =)

Veggies 4

We planted it in the “square foot method”, which means we use boxes instead of rows to save space and water.

Veggies 3

Right now we have broccoli, beets, parsley, lettuce and mustard greens already growing. And we’ve planted seeds for carrots, turnips, chard, cabbage, radishes and more beets. And the clothes-pin markers make me feel like a genius.

And it’s January.

Have I mentioned that I really love living in the desert? (Even if it requires some pretty extreme measures of critter prevention.)





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