Protecting and preserving the plants in your garden bed can be the difference between them flourishing or slowly falling victim to the elements. Inclement weather and wild animals can inflict serious damage on budding plants, so safeguarding plants from these threats is key. It is impossible to keep an eye on your plants and vegetables every hour of the day, but taking certain measures can minimize the danger posed to them. Follow our recommendations for framing, covering, fertilizing and ventilating your garden bed to best protect it from harsh weather and animal intrusions.
Framing Garden Beds
Installing a solid garden bed frame is one of the best things you can do to protect your in-ground garden bed crops from bad weather and pests. These garden bed frames can help combat the erosion of soil while also acting as a barrier between your garden and the bugs and worms that are looking for an easy meal. A sturdy frame can be constructed for either an in-ground garden bed or a raised garden bed using any of the following materials:
- PVC - Frames made out of PVC are very popular due to their flexibility. You can make them as tall, short or wide as your garden demands.
- Wood - You can build your own wooden garden bed frame by placing durable planks around your plot. Make sure that the planks are high enough to allow for your plants to grow. Your covering of choice can be laid atop the stakes and secured with rope.
- Metal - Galvanized, raised garden beds are a go-to solution for many gardeners. They are great for small yards and give you several options in terms of the covering you choose to use.
Types of Covering
Not all garden beds require the same type of coverings, so let’s go over some coverings that can be used in different situations. First, there are two covering materials that are most recommended for protecting gardens from animals and other pests: chicken wire and polypropylene mesh. Since hungry critters can become aggressive when it comes to acquiring food, securing your garden’s chicken wire or mesh net is of the utmost importance. Next, there is shade cloth, which is great at letting sunlight and rain reach the plants without overwhelming them.
Shade cloth is a good option for gardeners working with plants that are sensitive to sunlight and that need specific amounts of it to grow properly. Since shade cloth comes in a variety of different thicknesses, do some research to determine how much shade your plants need and which shade cloth variation will best suit your operation.
Another way of insulating plants from inclement weather is to use fine netting as a covering. Fine netting is ideal for catching debris and balls of ice that could damage vulnerable plants, so it’s an essential material to have on hand if you are gardening in a cold, icy area. Clear sheets of polyethylene also work as good garden bed coverings in areas where frost and cold temperatures can threaten the health of plants.
Remember, garden coverings can be used together or separately to achieve maximum protection for your garden’s plants. For example, a mesh lining can be used to cover your garden bed and ward off animals, and you can also place sheets of polyethylene on top of the mesh lining when threatening weather conditions come into play. Also, make sure to provide your plants with proper ventilation when setting up whichever garden bed covering you install. Heavy plastic coverings without ventilation holes can raise the heat level of your garden bed to unhealthy temperatures. Always leave perforated holes somewhere on your selected covering so that your garden bed can breathe in fresh air as needed and adjust as the weather changes.
Watering Best Practices
Purchasing the most durable water hose possible is an essential part of safeguarding your garden from avoidable damage. Since most plants do not require daily watering, any problems that arise with your home’s garden hose can go undetected for several days. Even the most popular hoses can get kinks, acquire leaks or experience low water pressure, so it’s important to select a hose that is able to maintain functionality no matter the conditions.
For plants that are forced to face extreme weather conditions, a heavy-duty rubber garden hose is your best shot at keeping them consistently hydrated. Freezing temperatures and certain garden hoses do not mix, and when issues arise, it can be difficult to give your plants the much-needed hydration they need. A lightweight, non-kink garden hose can make the job easier when just a little water is needed. When deep watering is necessary, having strong pressure is a good alternative to waiting forever with low pressure. Visit our store to learn about Swan’s non-kink garden hoses as well as our high-pressure garden hoses.
If you are putting together your garden bed, it’s safe to assume that you are serious about growing natural plants and vegetables. We’re all familiar with the ways that composting can benefit plants, but even with composting in place, your plants still need fertilizer in order to thrive. Determining the right time, the right amount and the right composition of nutrients and minerals is essential to making an informed fertilizer purchase. The first thing you should do is have your soil tested, since the results will help you determine which plants are a good fit for your location. Not all plants are capable of survival in certain climates and soil compositions. Once you have conducted all of your research, fertilize your plants after they have been transplanted for at least two weeks. Afterwards, you can regularly fertilize the soil every few weeks, which will ensure that your plants get access to vital nutrients no matter the season or weather.
Consistency: The Key to Protecting Your Garden Bed
Whatever type of garden you decide to start, there are covers and structures to protect your garden beds from the effects of weather and pests. Quality ventilation and drainage is important, as is fertilization, but the real key to protecting your garden beds is to consistently check on the beds and set them up to withstand any potential threats. Preparation is everything when it comes to maintaining your garden’s safety. Once you outfit your garden with appropriate frames, coverings, ventilation and fertilization, it’s essential to inspect the garden bed multiple times per week to keep all of these elements in good standing.
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