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Use Hardware Mesh to Protect Your Raised Bed Gardens from Rodents

Here’s how you can deal with burrowing rodents with the help of hardware mesh!

If you have a kitchen garden or a farm, you must be well aware of the fact that moles, gophers, and ground squirrels love to feast on the succulent roots of your plants. If you take the measure of raising the garden beds, it may slow down their activity for a while, but let me tell you these creatures are quite smart and very soon they will learn how to dig in from under the bed! But there’s no need to worry, as fortunately there is help at hand in the form of hardware mesh, which can be your saving grace and help you to deal effectively with your rodent woes. A hardware mesh or hardware cloth as it is also known as is a wire mesh that provides a sturdy barrier and protects your beloved plants from the rampage of digging rodents. It also does not spoil the aesthetics of the garden beds. These gophers, moles, and other burrowing rodents are quite capable of destroying an entire garden in a short time space if they take refuge in your landscape. So, it is best that you take the help of hardware mesh and deal with them before they start the rampage. The larger plants are also damaged by these rodents owing to the disturbance they cause to the roots of these plants. Needless to say the smaller specimens of plants disappear overnight once these rodents get into action. It may be a little difficult to protect the plants which are already grown, with heavy wire mesh. Hence, it is advisable that you use hardware mesh before planting to exclude these rodents from the root zone of your garden. You can line the entire bottom of your raised garden beds with wire mesh before you plant your veggies. Hardware mesh is quite a popular product for its varying agricultural uses and both large and small farmers prefer it owing to the various benefits it offers such as its adaptability, relatively low price, and the options available. Some of the popular uses of hardware mesh include using it as trellis netting, deer fencing, livestock barriers, chicken wire, tree and plant guards to name a few. Galvanized hardware mesh or hardware cloth is in fact one of the most common and widely used categories of wire mesh. Since hardware mesh is quite versatile and is affordably priced, it is used for various applications. Apart from its adaptability and pricing, another notable benefit of hardware cloth is its zinc coating. This makes it corrosion resistant, offers a longer life as compared to a steel wire mesh, and can effectively protect your plants from rodents for a longer duration.

How to install a hardware mesh for your raised garden beds?

Things you will need

Here is a list of items that you would need for this exercise:
  • Hardware cloth
  • Shovel
  • Wire cutters
  • Metal stakes
  • Hammer
  • Leather gloves

Procedure

Follow the below mentioned steps while installing a hardware mesh for your raised garden beds:
  1. First and foremost, remove the soil from the raised garden beds to a depth of around 8-10 inches.
  2. Now, cover the soil in the area that you excavated with the hardware mesh, including the sides. In case the border of your raised garden bed is made out of a rigid material such as wood or concrete blocks, extend the hardware cloth to around 6 inches up the insides of the border. In case your garden beds have no border, you need to extend the hardware mesh to around 6 inches above the original surface of the soil in order to prevent the rodents from entering the bed from underneath it. You must lay several sheets of hardware mesh to properly cover the entire area. Ensure that they overlap by at least around 6 inches. To hold the hardware mesh properly in place, use metal stakes along the edges.
  3. The next step is to pound a metal stake into the ground at an interval of 6 inches along the seams to restrict the rodents from squeezing through them.
  4. Now cover the soil on the raise bed and ensure that no soil gets in between the border of the bed and the hardware cloth. Spread the soil evenly and properly along the edges first. Use the weight of the soil to push the hardware mesh properly against the border material. Once you have returned all the soil back to the beds, you can now plant your seeds.

Tips

  • It is advisable that you use a hardware mesh with around ½ inch holes to protect your plants effectively from moles, gophers, and other rodents. In case finding one with this specification is a problem, you can also use ¼ inch hardware cloth.
  • If you have wooden beds which are rectangular in shape, they are the easiest type of raised beds that can help your protect your plants from the burrowing rodents. The reason behind this is that the straight sides and right angles can be easily matched with those of the hardware mesh, and you can staple the material directly to the wood to ensure that these rodents do not get the option of squeezing through the edges of the mesh.
Caution
  • It is always advisable that you wear leather gloves while you are working with hardware mesh. Since the cut edges are sharp, you have the risk of getting cuts on your hands while getting them installed. Safety as they say is always better than cure.
With the inputs provided in this article, we hope that you can effectively deal with your rodent woes and enjoy harvesting a healthy produce! Happy farming!

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