As gardeners, we protect our plants very much. You need a lot of protection! Removing plant species from their natural habitats gave us the gift of gardening, but with it came the dangers of new problems. Our gardens are exposed to pests, disease, rain, wind, heat and frost. It's enough to wilt any flower! That is why we would like to discuss what is perhaps the most valuable thing in your garden: raised beds.
Pop-up, shading, folding, tent, structured – there are thousands of different raised beds out there. Because of this, we are confident that in this article we will help you determine exactly what type of coverage your raised garden beds will need.
You don't have a raised bed yet? Check out the Epic Gardening shop before diving into this topic with us, or alternatively, try building a DIY raised bed. Raised beds are fantastic to grow!
Good options for raised beds:
What is a raised bed?
Raised comforters like this floating row cover help protect the plants. Source: Baugher
A loft bed cover is exactly what it sounds like: something that covers and protects your garden bed. They secure themselves in, on or around the bed and cover the vegetation to protect it from the weather. Each garden bed cover has a frame that is connected to the raised bed or the ground and holds the protective cover. The frame and cover materials vary widely, each with their own advantages, disadvantages and uses.
Many gardeners choose to make their own covers. Here are just a few different types that are common:
Reifenhäuser: These constructions made of PVC and plastic sheets or floating row covers protect millions of plants every year. They are easy to assemble and disassemble if necessary.
Box frame covers: A box frame can be just the rigid type of structure needed to keep snow off plants or protect them from wind or other harsh conditions. These are usually kept intact after construction and can actually be left near the facility with or without a cover.
Retractable: These are attached to the end of the bed and pulled out to cover it completely. Usually this is a variation on a tire house, although other versions exist.
Commercial raised beds are definitely an option! Source: UnconventionalEmma
Others say that you cannot beat the convenience and confidence of store-bought products. Hundreds of retailers supply all types of covers for every type of raised bed. Here are just a few of the most common:
Mini greenhouse or cooling frame: A sturdy structure that attaches to the raised beds and has a door or hinge for easy access to the flora. Cooling frames usually have a heavier cover material than a miniature greenhouse.
Plant tents: Basically a clear tent for the vegetation (they even have zippers!). Fits directly in or around the raised beds.
Pop-up or fixed cloches: Bell-shaped custom covers suitable for gardening in boxes or on the floor.
As you can see from these types, you need to consider the structure of your raised beds before choosing a cover. You don't want to buy a fancy greenhouse cover to find out it's not the same shape as the bed, right?
Before buying any materials or ready-made covers, write down the dimensions and material of your raised bed and determine what you want to achieve. If you're just looking for light shade on a hot day, or something that supports floating row cover, it may not have to be as impervious as something that will protect your plants from a storm.
How does a raised bed help?
As mentioned earlier, a raised garden bed cover is designed to keep your precious plants safe and healthy. However, some protect against certain dangers better than others. We strongly advise you to think about what you are saving your garden from, and then choose your covers from there.
Protection from the elements
Green loves rain and sun, but too much can do more harm than good. High heat and direct sunlight are harmful to many garden plants, especially edible ones. Shade cloth is designed for it. It's a woven fabric, usually made of plastic or filament, that shades the plant without blocking out the sun completely. When used in a raised garden bed cover, it is usually just spread across the top so it only provides shade during the hottest part of the day.
On the flip side, cold temperatures and frost can cause just as much, if not more, damage. This is where solid plastic comes into play. These are clear polyethylene films that retain heat. Because of their versatility, they are widely used in large and small greenhouses. Cooling frames are also an excellent and more durable choice for keeping your garden bed warm and frost-free.
Heavy rain and wind usually requires some kind of permanent foil. However, without a sturdy and secure structure, no quality of coverage can withstand. Garden covers that sit on or around the bed can blow away easily. If you live in an area with frequent high winds, you will need to securely attach the cover to the bed or make sure it has some weight.
Often come with rain and wind hail. It may be fun to watch, but these little ice balls can really give your yard a chance. Fine mesh is actually excellent in this situation. If held correctly, it will gently catch the hail before it hits plants. Plastic sheets or glass may be far less effective as they can be broken by particularly violent hail.
Protection from animals
We love ours Petsbut they can certainly devastate the garden. Most covers should keep them away, although sturdier is better. We recommend a good garden bed fence to prevent Fido's exploration.
Dogs and cats aren't the only animals that can visit your yard. Birds and wildlife You might think your vegetable garden is the perfect lunch! Bird netting or chicken wire usually keep them away. However, if you choose to use a bird net, make sure it is pulled taut so that winged visitors are not trapped in it.
Larger wild animals like deer, may need a larger barrier. Choose a strong structure with a solid or mesh cover that won't tear easily. Beef panels are a fantastic choice as they contain strong animals. They consist of wire that is welded into a mesh fence. This fence makes an excellent base for bedspreads.
Remember that even though we want our plants to be safe, animals still need to eat. If your area is home to wild herbivores, consider leaving a bed uncovered and clearing a vegetative for everyone.
Protection against pests and diseases
No matter what or where you grow, flying insects will be there. That's why we love floating row covers. They're lightweight, portable, and perfect for keeping these pests from laying eggs and chewing on the plants. Solid sheeting or fine-meshed fabrics as a floating row cover keep these insects away most efficiently.
To the creeping pestsYou need something that is anchored directly on the floor or in the bed so that nothing can sneak underneath. A fine mesh laid at the base of the bed or simply securing the floating row cover to the floor surface is a great way to keep it out.
Solid foils also prevent it from spreading in the air Fungal spores. Creating a full roof out of this will also protect the green from excessive rain, making it slide on either side and reducing the risk of overwatering.
Unfortunately, to keep insects away, pollinators also need to be blocked. You will need to remove the covers at flowering time or open them when you want your plants to produce.
What does garden cladding protect against?
Unfortunately, not all problems in the world can be solved with a single cover. Regardless of the setup, they won't protect your yard from pre-existing soil-borne diseases and pests or extreme temperatures (not to mention the occasional tornado or hurricane). Depending on the material chosen, the cover can also trap moisture, which can be good or bad depending on the plant.
Types of garden duvets
A tire house frame on a raised bed. This can support multiple types of coverage. Source: Sarah and Jason
A protective cover is only as good as its frame and there is a wide choice! Here are the three best frame materials.
It couldn't be easier than with wood, hammer and nails. This proven material is perfect for cooling frames and mobile greenhouses, as hinges are allowed without any problems. Wooden frames are stiff enough to withstand adverse weather conditions and last for a long time.
This is one of the more expensive options, especially for those who buy the frame instead of making it, as not everyone is carpentry. These frames are also usually large, heavy, and awkward to move from one raised garden bed to another.
PVC pipes are such a gift for the home improvement. It's almost like adult craft toys in that it can take so many different shapes. You can make rounded hoop houses, square structures, and even angled roofs. PVC is light, easy to work with and can be dismantled when not in use. It's also super cheap!
Due to its light weight, PVC pipe is only suitable for strong winds if you secure it. However, this can also be tricky because you can't just drive a nail through the pipe. You will need a fastener that is suitable for the PVC and your garden bed material. This type of frame also has a limited choice of openings as it cannot be easily hinged.
Metal frames are perhaps the most durable. They are sturdy like wood, but do not rot, soften in the heat or suffer insect damage. However, metal frames can be much more expensive and difficult to make yourself. Metal is also usually heavy and heats up quickly in the afternoon sun.
Types of garden coverings
Just attaching a floating row cover directly over plants can provide protection. Source: Baugher
After you have chosen your frame, there are numerous covering materials to choose from. Considering the material recommended for your situation, think about some common raised beds and how to make them.
You can find meshes with different hole sizes. Opt for a large perforated net if you want to keep animals out as it won't interfere with the elements. A small perforated net is more ideal for smaller animals such as birds.
Mesh can be made from virtually anything, but gardeners usually rely on polyethylene or polypropylene. It's inexpensive, light, and UV-resistant.
Shade cloth is a popular choice for protecting your garden. They are made of polyester and are either knitted or woven. The knitted fabric is lighter, more durable and more suitable for the garden. The woven fabric is heavier and frayed or comes off when cut. Both types allow ventilation, as opposed to solid material, which traps heat.
Plants need a spectrum of light rays for photosynthesis. However, extremes in the light spectrum, especially infrared light, can seriously hinder vegetative growth. The goal of shaded fabric is to block the harmful rays while letting in just enough for photosynthesis. As such, they are marketed at different filter levels. For example, 70% shaded cloth blocks 70% of the sun's rays. You can find levels from just 5% to 90%.
Fabric is also used for floating row covers. It can be super light, heavy, or anything in between. The heavy fabric can protect from the cold and is often used as Frost blanket.
This includes a variety of strong, waterproof coverings. We will break them down into rigid and flexible materials. On the rigid side is Plastic panels. They are usually made of durable polycarbonate and are smooth or wavy.
Flexible materials like Plastic panels, are easy to edit and fit most structures. One popular guy is translucent tarpaulinwho are woven tarps with an extra layer of clear plastic. All of these materials are available in various thicknesses and opacities.
Chicken wire and other fence materials fall under this category. The metal does its job well and lasts a long time. For a DIY raised bed, we recommend either chicken wire or Hardware cloth. It's actually not a fabric, but a roll of flexible, gridded wire. Hardware fabric is far easier to cut, store, and work with than chicken wire without compromising quality.
The green fingers behind this article: