In our situation, living in the desert in the southwestern United States, we situated ours so it won’t be in full summer sun.
You will also want to consider taller plants that may block sun from shorter/smaller ones.
Also consider how far away the water source will be. Will you have the ability to run a hose to a farther area on your property? Will you want to walk far with a watering can each time you water the garden?
In our situation, we located ours within 20 feet of our water cistern. We have a 2,600 gallon rainwater harvesting tank. Locating the raised garden bed near the water makes it convenient for us to use it.
In time, we will add a drip irrigation system to the garden bed, making it even more convenient.
How deep should a raised garden bed be?
At a minimum, your garden bed should be six inches deep.
Having 12″ of soil will be better to encourage healthy roots. Keep this in mind if you want to grow potatoes, carrots and other underground produce.
Before building, think about what you want to grow. Learn about those plants and the ideal depth for them.
The best height for a raised garden bed will depend on your access to good quality dirt and costs you may need to incur to fill the garden bed.
Tools for DIY raised garden bed
Think about what tools you have and what you might be able to borrow.
If you plan to build additional garden beds or work on other woodworking projects, you may want to buy your own saws. For the garden bed, he used a 12 inch sliding miter saw.
My husband looked on Craigslist for tools. He ended up buying several tools from one owner at an estate sale. Look online before you buy new tools. Also consider if you can go to someone’s garage to cut the wood, etc.
For this DIY raised garden bed, he used these tools:
Additional tools he used to build the garden bed were:
Wood screws and deck screws
Eye protection, ear protection
Staple gun to secure the liner
DIY raised garden bed plans
It’s important to know that with any DIY garden bed plans, you can make changes to fit your needs and the materials you have.
For example, my husband had leftover deck screws so he used them as well as the wood screws. He didn’t have nails but he could have used those instead of, or in addition to, the screws.
Remember, this is a flexible and forgiving project. It doesn’t have to be perfect!
How to build a raised garden bed cheaply
Look for materials you already have. You can build a raised garden bed from cinder blocks. You can build a raised garden bed with bricks.
My husband wanted to build a garden bed from wood with 2×6’s from another project.
In addition, he had a pile of reclaimed wood from our neighbor’s old porch he helped tear down.
If you can repurpose materials, that will make it inexpensive as well as eco-friendly.
As stated above, use whatever appropriate tools, nails, screws, and wood you already have to make a garden bed cheaply.
Using old wood to build a raised garden bed cheaply
If you are able to use pieces of wood from an old project, that’s great.
We had some leftover wood from other projects. In addition, my husband took some wood from our neighbor’s old porch they tore down.
He mostly used 2×6’s to build the garden bed.
Be sure to use untreated wood for the garden. If you do have painted or treated wood, be sure it’s facing out and not in contact with the soil.
If the pieces are treated on both sides, you can always sand it down with an orbital sander.
Determining the length and width of your garden bed
Put your 2×6 boards into two piles. Group them together by longest / tallest and shortest.
Garden bed length
Of the longer boards, take the shortest piece of wood and use it to determine the length of your raised garden bed.
Garden bed width
Of the shorter boards, do the same to determine the width.
Some additional things to consider when choosing the width:
Wide enough for two rows of planting
He wanted it at least 30″ in width to enable us to have two rows for planting.
Consider your back; bending and reaching
In addition, he didn’t want it to be too wide. He wanted us to be able to reach all the way inside the garden bed without having to bend over too far.
How high off the ground should the garden bed be?
He raised the garden bed 22″ from the ground.
Living the the southwestern part of the United States, we have lots of critters, including rattlesnakes, javelina, pack rats, etc. We wanted the height to deter as much wildlife as possible, though we are always careful.
In addition, he built a 2×6 ledge all the way around so it functions as a bench.
He thought we could sit on it, put tools on it, and sit on it in nature with a cup of tea.
It will also work well when we harvest fruits and vegetables. We will be able to set them on the ledge.
What kind of wood should be used for raised beds?
For the sides, he used 2×6’s.
The big posts are 4×6 posts which were reclaimed and repurposed from the neighbor’s porch. He used wood screws as well as wood glue to attach the posts to give them extra support.
What type of wood you use to build the garden bed depends on a few things:
What you already have
Availability in your area
Climate where you live
The 2×6 wood pieces he had were pine and douglas fir. Our climate is dry, and rotting isn’t as much of an issue as it is in other climates.
Had he been able to access cedar or redwood planks, he would have loved them but they aren’t economical or readily available where we live.
So consider where you are and what type of wood is inexpensive and accessible.
Remember, you can build a garden bed cheaply.
Ask around if anyone has leftover wood.
Oftentimes, your neighbors may appreciate help tearing down fencing, a barn, etc. These would be good types of wood to build a garden bed with.
If you live in a damp climate, you may consider using cinder blocks for a garden bed. Then it just becomes a matter of stacking the blocks.
Using a garden bed liner
He lined the inside with a garden bed liner from the hardware store. He stapled it in the floor and sides.
Using a liner will help keep the soil moist. We live in the desert and while we will be using a drip irrigation system from our rainwater cistern, our summers get really hot.
Advantages to using a liner in your garden bed
Keep to control pests
Consider what you have growing in your area. A liner may help deter moles, pack rats, gophers, and other critters in your area.
We have poor quality, desert soil. There will be no benefit to using the soil beneath our raised bed.
Minimize weeds from growing
A garden liner acts as weed barrier cloth and will reduce the number of weeds that can grow.
Reduce soil loss
Helps retain moisture
What to put at the bottom of raised garden bed
It’s important to consider drainage; don’t just start filling the bottom with dirt.
Some considerations are where you live and what’s available easily and inexpensively.
You can line the bottom with rocks. This will help provide good drainage.
What do you fill a raised garden bed with?
Something practical and inexpensive my husband did was to use old branches from our property. He also cut down some dead branches from our mesquite and palo verde trees.
By using branches and pieces of decaying wood from your yard and/or from a wood pile, you can enrich the soil as well as be eco-friendly.
He filled the bottom half of the garden bed with branches.& He remembered his grandparents doing this. As the wood decays, it releases nitrogen in the soil.
In addition, it takes up space so you don’t have to spend money on additional topsoil. It also aids with drainage.
After adding the branches, he filled it 3/4 of the way with clean fill dirt.
Next, he filled the remaining 1/4 of the garden bed with good quality garden topsoil made specifically for gardening but without additional fertilizers.
Are you starting from seed or with garden-ready starts
How much will you have to water
Do you want flowers or fruits and vegetables
Also consider if children will be helping you plant and garden. Getting some sunflower seeds and other easy-to-grow seeds and plants will make it more fun for them. (It’s also nice for the adults to have some gardening success!)
Be sure to check out your local library to see if they have a seed library.
We were able to get free seed packets from our library.
Building a raised garden bed
Putting the garden bed in the right spot
We mentioned this above but the garden bed location is essential.
Consider where the sun is.
Also, consider what might block the sun.
We purposely planned for the garden bed to be under the canopy of a mesquite tree. In the non-summer months, it will get direct sunlight.
This is ideal for our climate because the branches will keep it shaded in the summer months and will allow sun to stream through in the winter months.
Also, locating it in this spot, his thought was that while working in the garden, it will keep the direct sun off of us. It will be more enjoyable to work in it.
Advantages of a garden bed
Garden beds can be eco-friendly if you use reclaimed wood. Growing your own fruits and vegetables contribute to an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
In addition, if you are able to harvest rainwater, all the better.
Inexpensive DIY raised garden bed
Raised garden beds provide alternatives to in-ground gardening. They can vary in size.
You can make garden beds from materials you have such as wood, bricks, or cinder blocks. This means you can build a raised garden bed cheaply.
Know that you will derive a lot of benefits from building a simple raised bed garden.
Not only are they functional and utilitarian, they can be decorative too. They can add beauty to your yard.
In addition, they are highly beneficial in areas in which the ground soil is naturally poor. A garden bed gives you options to bring in your own high quality soil. You can further enrich the soil with compost.
Raised garden beds also enable you to control the environment for the particular plants you are growing.
Reduce Irrigation Water Usage – An irrigation system has the potential to bleed water if not carefully managed.
Why is this a problem?
Water is becoming more and more expensive as many areas become increasingly aware of its scarcity.
This is one of the best incentives for any property manager to optimize their irrigation system for lower water usage.
In addition, the environmental benefits of conscientious water usage are being more closely studied.
As a conscientious property manager, you want to put yourself ahead of the curve when it comes to environment-friendly water usage and money-saving irrigation tactics.
Reduce Irrigation Water Usage
Here are a few of the ways that a facility manager can reduce water used for irrigation on their property.
The age of the old mechanical timers is gone.
Today, we have smart controllers that come with many advantages, the biggest of which is saving your irrigation system precious water.
This means not only that you’ll be doing the environment a favor but that your investment in a sprinkler controller will easily pay off in a year or two.
These controllers can be adjusted to run on different days, omit others, and water at times conducive to the different plants you have on your property.
Depending on the type of plants and soil that you have on your facility, you can change the parameters of your sprinkler controller to get the most out of the least amount of water possible.
Just remember that you have to do the leg work.
Sprinkler controllers are a huge asset but only if you do the proper research into your property’s plants, soil types, amount of sun exposure, elevation, and how all of this affects the amount of water you should be using and at what time of the day.
Many facilities that prefer turf or fancy non-native plants are using an excess of water for irrigation that they really don’t need to be.
Many of the plant choices on your facility could be water sponges because they aren’t local to your region’s soil and climate.
By choosing to replace these planted areas with native plants, you could save yourself on the irrigation bill without doing anything to your sprinklers.
Your own management is part of the deal when it comes to optimizing your property for water usage.
A sprinkler controller can only do you so much good if one of the heads is broken or not on the proper schedule.
Since you probably time the sprinklers to run after you go home, you may not know you’re losing water efficiency until your bill comes in.
This is why a savvy property manager will take a walk through the system once a week.
Turn it on and make sure everything is working properly and at the designated settings.
If you manage a facility, you want the plant life to look lively to reflect the management practices of your property.
If you see a dry, brown patch in the turf, your instinct will probably be to increase the time the sprinklers are on or the amount of water they put out.
This is needlessly wasteful since a dry patch is rarely a result of too little water but more likely due to an ineffective distribution of the sprinkler system itself.
If the sprinkler heads aren’t placed evenly, there will be gaps in the turf that aren’t getting irrigated.
Mapping out your planted area to make sure that the sprinkler system is distributed evenly will ensure that no dry patches crop up within the system.
You may initially think that higher water pressure will increase your sprinkler’s efficiency, but pressure needs to be optimized rather than maximized.
If the pressure is too high, the water drops become thinner and susceptible to being intercepted by the wind.
Depending on the wind in your area, this could mean a good amount of the water you’re paying for being flown off-site by gusts of wind.
Reduce the water pressure to a reasonable level.
This will make your water “heavier” and more likely to fall onto your property where it belongs.
You may not be getting the most efficient water usage out of your old-fashioned sprinkler or surface irrigation system.
Consider switching your facility over to a drip irrigation system, which has been designed to be even more efficient and water conservative.
A drip irrigation system distributes water slowly and directly into the soil with the goal of getting as much water to the roots of your plants while minimizing the amount of evaporation inherent in conventional sprinkler systems.
A network of tubes and valves works to give your property the most efficient water usage possible by attempting to eliminate the wind drift we talked about, evaporation from sun exposure, and excessive runoff.
Depending on the size of your property or facility, the irrigation system is probably a huge money sink for you.
When looking at your water bill, you may wonder if there’s anything you can do to optimize this system for efficient water usage.
The actions you can take come in two main categories: things you can do and things you can install.
In the first category, a conscientious manager will check their property every week to make sure the sprinklers are working, use the best practices for pressure regulation, and shift over to native plants with less extravagant water requirements.
In the second category, a sprinkler controller that does the work for you can be a huge benefit to a conventional irrigation system.
A new drip irrigation system could be even more effective at conserving water than your own efforts have been.
Regardless, the outcome of employing these practices will be more water conserved for your local environment and more money saved for you when it comes to your utility bill each month.
Owning chickens is a valuable experience for many people, and those who don’t have experience with these pets may be surprised at just how much joy they can bring into your life.
Best Chicken Coops: A Review
To find out more about the best chicken coops to house your friends, we found products perfect for both beginners and experienced chicken owners; you simply need to find out which chicken coop will work best for your particular needs.
It’s a high-end option that absolutely belong on our list of Best Chicken Coops that has nearly everything that you need to have for a great chicken set up.
The Double Savory from Pets Imperial is a high-end, well-outfitted chicken coop that offers a wide number of things for every chicken owner: two nesting boxes, lots of space, four perches, an openable roof, and more.
The animal-treated tinder should last for years of use, and there is a galvanized droppings tray that can you can remove easily.
This coop comes disassembled, but it does include the instructions needed to make it into the perfect coop.
Pets Imperial Double Savoy Chicken Coop Good and Bad
Each bird, if you keep six chickens in this coop, will have their own comfortable resting spot at night because the two nesting boxes are divided into six individual compartments; this can make chickens very happy.
Additionally, this large coop has been built to last for a long time.
It has plastic caps on the feet to prevent rotting, animal-treated timber to ensure the wood doesn’t rot, a high-quality roofing material, and galvanized metal for the tray so that it doesn’t get rusty or wear out easily.
This coop does not include its own run, so you will need to have it built to accompany this coop.
That said, Pets Imperial does market their run, which you can set up easily in conjunction with this coop for great chicken-raising results.
It is one of the best options for those who are completely new to chickens, and it is, in many ways, all-inclusive.
This 80” chicken coop is made from weather-resistant, animal-treated natural fir wood, so you expect it to be very durable.
Also, the chicken wire used is galvanized and stands up to the elements.
The setup includes a henhouse as well as a small outdoor exercise area, a nesting box, and a rooftop that you can open and close when needed.
This small coop-and-pen setup is big enough for about three to four birds, so it is especially ideal for those who are just getting started.
Best Choice Chicken Coop
This product is a complete setup, and you can get started with raising your chickens without the need to buy much more than feed and bedding once you have it.
Many henhouses or coops do not have an attached run, so you have to either let chickens roam your yard or set up your own run before you can use the coop.
This coop has it all included for you, so you can just focus on your new pets and what they need most from you.
One problem that people had with this particular setup was that the hinged door to the nesting box doesn’t lock, so some smart critters like raccoons will eventually learn how to open it and steal the eggs.
You can prevent this easily by just adding your own lock or latch mechanism and then using that to get to the eggs when you need to.
Two nesting spots in a single box
Good for two to four hens
Easy to assemble
Can be painted
Need to treat the wood for extra weather resistance
There are hundreds of different chicken coop options on the market, and there are even more chicken coop designs that you could build yourself if you wanted to go that route.
How can you know which type of coop will be right for your home and family?
Ultimately, you should prioritize four things when you are shopping around for a chicken coop: safety, space, ventilation, and ease of cleaning.
Make sure that any chicken coop that you choose is set up for safety.
You want to protect the chickens from outside dangers such as predators, the weather, and disease.
It is best to choose a chicken coop with an elevation or elevating since it will help to deter predators, which usually dig holes to come through the ground into the coop.
If the coop you choose rests directly on the ground, though, you can deter predators with a layer of stone underneath of the coop.
You also want to be sure that the roof and general construction will keep the chickens safe from the elements.
Chickens don’t like rain, in particular, so ensuring that the roof will keep water out is very important for the overall happiness of your flock.
You always want to be sure that your coop has enough space for your chickens.
Depending on the number of chickens that you own or want to own, you will want to be sure that the coop can fit them all without being overcrowded since crowding can cause both social and medical problems.
Generally speaking, you should make sure there are at least three square feet per chicken inside the chicken coop as well as an additional 10 square feet per chicken for the outside run area.
If chickens don’t have enough space, it will cause a slew of problems.
Another size factor that you want to consider is whether or not the coop has nesting boxes.
Nesting boxes provide a cool, dark place for your chickens to lay eggs, and you can expect each chicken to lay at least one egg every day, except in winter.
Nesting boxes are extra areas in the coop that aren’t disturbed and are locked lower than any perches so that laying the eggs is easy, and the box remains clean.
If your coop doesn’t include its own nesting boxes in the space, you will need to set these up and have them attached to the coop and run.
That would mean more setup work for you, though.
Chicken coops need to be airy because, without proper ventilation, they will become smelly houses of health problems and coop problems for your pets and eggs.
An ideal coop will have a minimum of two points of ventilation, preferably with those points located in or near the roof.
If the ventilation points are right at chicken-height-level, the chickens will be unhappy because they do not enjoy it when drafts ruffle their feathers.
This is a vital feature, so make sure that you check into the ventilation type and areas that are available in any coop you are considering to buy.
Ease of Cleaning
Nobody will want to say this upfront, but chicken coops are very messy!
That’s just a fact of owning chickens, and it is something that you will need to accept about this life.
As such, it’s key that you choose a chicken coop that is as easy to clean as possible.
What does this look like? Ideally, any coop that you choose should include the following:
An easy way to get inside
A removable roof
A removable or large door
Multiple ways to get into every area
Removable nesting boxes and perches
With all of those features, it will be easy to get inside and clean up all the extra feathers, dirt, and droppings.
You will also be able to hose down the entire coop from time to time if you can remove the nesting boxes and perches.
Otherwise, cleaning will become quite difficult because the layout and size of the coop will restrict you!
Chicken Coop FAQs
1. What Do Chicken Coops Need?
There are a few essential things that every chicken coop needs to have in order to for it to be a successful and practical setup:
Nesting boxes for the safe, protected laying of eggs
Outside run area (at least 10 square feet per chicken)
Inside coop area (at least four square feet per chicken)
At least two ventilation holes for airflow
Removable roof for easy cleaning
Elevated base or stone under the coop to deter predators
Feeder and water containers
Chicken wire and wood for constructing outdoor run, if applicable
As you can see, there can be quite a lot of things that you need to set up your chicken coop.
If you buy a coop that includes a run area and nesting boxes, you can save money by not needing to get as many additional items as possible.
2. What Size Coop Do You Need for Six Chickens?
Generally, you should have at least four square feet of inside coop space per chicken and 10 square feet of outdoor run space per chicken.
For a six-bird flock, you will need to have a coop with at least 24 square feet to prevent any social or medical issues.
These numbers are a little bit flexible, but you should never have less than three square feet in the coop per chicken.
3. Why Are Chicken Coops Elevated?
Chicken coops are typically elevated to prevent predators, such as foxes, from breaking into the coop by digging underground and coming up through the bottom area.
Additionally, a raised coop prevents both mice and rats from finding the coop to be an appealing place for nesting.
The elevation also helps to ensure that air flows around the entire coop, which can regulate temperature and create a safer environment.
Chickens also have the instinct to go up and above ground, especially at night, so an elevated coop encourages them to go inside to roost.
4. How Often Should You Clean Chicken Coop?
Most chicken coop owners clean out their coop every week or every other week, but the exact frequency will depend on your climate, the weather conditions, and how messy your chickens are.
We recommend cleaning your coop every week, and you may want to make sure that you rake out droppings from inside the actual henhouse area every single day to make this job easier.
It is imperative to clean out the coop at least every week because ammonia released from the chicken droppings can actually be very damaging for your little chickens.
Every week, here is what you should try to do:
Remove all chicken droppings
Clear out old bedding
Use a mixture of white vinegar and water to scrub any problem spots
Hose off the whole coop, if possible
Allow it to air dry before adding new bedding
Add new bedding
5. Do Chickens Need Light in Their Coop?
Chickens do not need light in their coop, but some chicken owners choose to add different types of lights for various reasons.
In areas where there is limited sunlight, you can use lights to simulate daylight and help chickens to continue their egg-laying cycle even when there isn’t enough sun.
Chickens originate from equatorial climates, so they do not usually lay eggs in the winter because they need at least 12 to 14 hours of sunlight a day to be regulated properly.
Adding lights, however, can also be stressful for hens, so you should do it in limited amounts and with a great deal of caution.
Preferably, this kind of light would only be used for an hour or two at most to extend the egg-laying season.
Other chicken owners add a simple light on a timer that they only use when they are cleaning their coop, gathering eggs, or feeding their flock.
Finally, some chicken owners set up a red light in the coop that runs for longer periods because of the perceived benefits, such as being able to see better, helping to prevent pecking, and just generally keep them happier.
Thus, we’ve researched a few different practical methods on how to keep animals out of garden without fences.
While it may not be impossible to keep them out for good, you can definitely reduce the amount of damage they do.
How to Keep Animals Out of Garden Without Fences
Here are some of the ways you can keep animals out of garden without fences and keep your garden safe from animals:
Determine the Type of Critters
Depending on where you live, there will be different types of animals doing damage to your garden.
Identifying what type of critter can help you successfully manage what kind of methods are needed to prevent them from coming back.
Some common critters that tend to wander into gardens are deer, rabbits, and groundhogs.
Looking for tracks in the soil can help you identify what type of critter goes into your yard.
Deer: Deer tend to leave behind hoof marks and will leave nibble marks on shrubbery.
Rabbits: This animal tends to leave tiny footprints and snip away at small wooded plants.
Groundhog: If you notice burrows, damages to leaves on plants, or pellet droppings, then you may have a groundhog. They typically will make a home near your garden and are quite noticeable once you look for specific markings.
Bird: The last type of animal that you may find ruining your garden is birds. They tend to pick at any crop they can lay their hands on, even when it’s not done growing. Birds aren’t picky eaters, which is why it’s a bit more challenging to get rid of them.
Change the Types of Plants in Your Garden
One method that doesn’t suit everyone but is an alternative is to switch up the types of plants you’re growing.
Plants that are less enticing to animals are less likely to get eaten by them.
Although, when animals are desperate for food, they eat everything.
Plants with pungent smells, prickly textures, or fuzzy exteriors tend to bother animals.
Sprinkle Coffee Grounds Around Plants
If you’re looking for a more natural repellent, coffee grounds tend to ward off critters.
Sprinkle a small amount of coffee grounds around each plant, and it will keep away cats, bugs, and little critters.
The grounds won’t damage any of the plants and will compost over time.
Try Using Repellents
A modern solution is using plant repellents designed to keep animals away.
These are generally inexpensive and can keep specific types of critters from coming into your garden.
There are natural and artificial types of repellants, so you can switch it up if necessary.
Natural repellants include the following:
Hot pepper extract
Artificial repellants include:
Consider Trapping Techniques
Not everyone agrees with trapping techniques, but they can definitely be useful if other methods haven’t worked.
Not all traps are inhumane and can help deter animals from going near your garden.
It only takes being trapped once or twice before critters change their mind about wandering into your space.
Live traps include steel mesh and spring-loaded doors.
These traps trick wildlife into the materials and then trap them alive.
In some provinces, it can be illegal to use or relocate wildlife, so be sure to check state laws.
Hunting can also be a good alternative to keeping critters out of your garden.
However, we understand that not as many people prefer this method.
Plus, state laws may prohibit you from hunting certain types of animals.
So, we’d only suggest this to gardeners located in legal hunting areas.
Invest in a Guard Pet
Animals tend to be wary of other animals in the area.
Investing your money into a house pet can be an effective method at warding off any critters.
Small critters will easily be scared off by dogs or cats.
That said, you’ll need to avoid getting household pets if you’re facing predator critters like foxes or wolves.
Dogs generally work well for scaring off larger breeds of animals, but can sometimes cause a mess in your garden.
Training your pet to be a guard dog is recommended, or else, you’ll end up with dug up plants.
Cats, on the other hand, make less of a mess but tend to ward off smaller animals.
Their urine gives off a specific smell that can scare away voles, gophers, or rabbits.
The only downside is that they aren’t as effective as dogs and will less likely guard the area.
Use Wire Cloches
If you only have a select few plants that are being disturbed, then switching to wire cloches may be the solution.
These are small wired mesh covers that help protect against animals.
They are very effective at keeping smaller critters away from thriving crops, but they only cover a small area.
They work exceptionally well with rooted plants such as lettuce, broccoli, and small strawberry bushes.
The mesh design comes in numerous sizes, so you can easily find one that works well for your garden.
The only downside is that larger animals may be able to knock over or remove these meshes, as they are lightweight.
Place Alternative Food Sources
A significant reason for animals going after your garden is that they lack food in their natural environment.
When food sources get scarce, they will tend to eat anything they can get their hands on, including plants that they usually wouldn’t consider eating.
Identifying if they’re using your garden as a food source can help you take measures to prevent them from nibbling on crops.
Placing alternative food sources in other areas outside your garden may be able to deter them from eating them. Of course, you’ll have to research the animal’s favorite type of food; otherwise, they will still eat your crops.
Nuts and Seeds: For birds, we recommend placing bird feeders at the end of your property. Smaller critters will also climb up the trees and eat nuts and seeds from the bird feeder.
Food Pellets: For larger animals, we recommend placing herbivore plants or food pellets.
While this can be an excellent method for deterring critters from your garden, it can end up attracting more critters’ attention.
Making the food less readily available is your best option, as an abundance of a food source can cause more critters to rely on the food.
Counting how many critters wander onto your property can help you make a better estimation of how much food to place down.
Install Automatic Sprinklers
If you can’t get critters to stop wandering into your garden, then an excellent way to spook them is to use automatic sprinklers.
Many sprinkler systems are motion-triggered and can easily scare off skittish animals.
While this can be an effective method, wind, leaves, or any moving object can also trigger the sprinklers.
We highly recommend using the sprinkler system only if you have a few critters attacking your crops.
If you install motion-sensitive sprinklers while having a lot of critters, it may cause the plants to become overwatered.
Plus, this is only a practical method if you’re using it against smaller critters.
Larger animals may just ignore the sprinklers and use it as a water source.
If this method fails, you can always use the sprinkler system to water your garden.
Use Noise, Lights, or Motion Activated Traps
If all else fails, then it’s time to invest in unconventional methods.
Sharp noises or music can be an excellent alternative to scaring away critters.
While your neighbors may not appreciate it, you can turn up the volume on the radio or speakers.
Another suitable unconventional method is to invest in motion-activated lights.
Many animals tend to make their move either early in the morning or late at night.
If you can’t play noise or music at those times, then using lights can be useful.
What Garden Plants Need Lime works like magic on many plants by reducing the acidity of the soil, thereby increasing pH levels.
For those of you not familiar with the pH level, it describes how much acid or alkaline is in your soil.
If there’s too much acidity in the soil where you live, along with high levels of other toxic materials such as aluminum, garden plants will struggle to get the nutrients they require to thrive and survive.
With the pH, it’s possible to calculate how much lime is needed to reduce the acidity so your selection of plants will flourish.
Since not all plants require lime, we’ve put together this handy guide to give you an idea of what garden plants need lime and what doesn’t, as well as how to go about the liming process.
What Garden Plants Need Lime and What Doesn’t?
To ensure that you are not doing more harm to your plants than good, you must make sure they really require lime.
Plants That Need Lime
If you’ve decided to grow a vegetable patch, then the kind of plants that will benefit from lime include legumes such as peas and broad beans.
Other popular homegrown vegetables that benefit from lime include onions, garlic, parsnips, asparagus, and English spinach.
Fruit trees, including apple trees, are also far less likely to yield abundant fruits and reach their full potential if the soil is too acidic.
In terms of flowers, you might consider adding lime to decorative and ornamental style gardens populated with variants of gypsophila, delphiniums, and buddleia.
Shrubs that prefer acidic soils are American Holly, sweet bay magnolias, and mountain laurel.
Plants That Do Not Need Lime
You don’t want to discover the hard way that your crops and flower beds aren’t suitable for lime.
Unfortunately, there are several plants that will react badly to lime.
For instance, you should never add lime to sweet potatoes and regular potato crops.
Also, you should not consider adding lime if you are growing capsicums or tomatoes.
Many types of popular berries also prefer a more acidic soil environment to flourish, so they won’t react favorably if you add lime.
Among those, we’re singling out blueberry bushes, strawberries, and raspberries.
The same can also be said for grapes which again, thrive in more acidic conditions.
In terms of flowers that don’t react well to lime, there are plenty so you should most definitely err on the side of caution.
We’re talking about species such as magnolia, azalea, Japanese maples, daphne, and rhododendrons.
What if Your Plant Isn’t on the List?
There are many more than what we’ve mentioned and it’s impossible to provide an exhaustive list so do your research and ask at your local garden center, or you may do the following:
Soil pH Testing
We also always recommend that you first carry out a soil pH test to be confidently assured that lime is necessary.
Also, if you’re planting what are known as perennial plants, such as lawn grasses, shrubs, and trees, then we recommend you to check the level of acidity in your soil.
If it’s too high, then lime should be added.
In terms of the accepted levels to look out for, a pH level of 7.0 is considered neutral.
If your soil has a measurement above 7.0, it denotes it’s alkaline whereas under 7.0 is acid.
If you’re planning to make changes and adjustments to your garden, perhaps by designing a new area to integrate with existing established plants or adding a vegetable plot, always re-test your soil’s pH level.
That way, you will have a better chance of success when it comes to the healthy and abundant growth of any fruit and vegetable crops you plant.
Testing itself can be carried out at any time but if it’s carried out within three months of adding another organic matter such as fertilizer, it could skew your results and be misleading.
Identify the Plant’s Natural Habitat
Another way of determining the soil preference of the plants you’re planning to grow is to reference their natural habitat.
Plants from the Rocky Mountains for example and the high Sierras or other heavy granite-based terrains won’t tolerate lime at all.
On the other hand, plants from the western plains are far more lime-tolerant.
These days, a lime deficiency is considered to be one of the principal factors contributing to poor growth, particularly in easter gardens.
One of the challenges is that lime lovers divide flower families so again, please do your research if you want your garden to flourish.
The Lime Application Process
Now, if your plants require lime, here are the things that you should be familiar with:
To go about the lime application process, here are the things to keep in mind:
When to Apply
It’s standard procedure for best gardening practices to add lime during the winter months, especially for your annual crops.
Lime should be added just prior to digging the soil so that the lime can bed down and take effect over the harsh winter months and not cause any damage to young, winter vegetables.
Do note that lime can take years to have any effect, especially if it’s just applied to the surface around already established plants and shrubs in your garden, so you should be regularly tilling and sowing the soil.
It’s important to note that lime is not a fertilizer and shouldn’t be used as such.
Its principal purpose is to raise the pH level of your soil. That’s why it enables some plants to positively thrive and flourish whereas, for others, it makes them desperately unhappy!
We all want a garden full of happy plants at the end of the day, don’t we?
If you remove the acidity they crave from the soil surrounding them, they’ll struggle to survive.
They definitely won’t be delivering an abundance of beauty which is what you’re striving for.
It shouldn’t be necessary to add lime more frequently than every two years.
In today’s guide to what garden plants need lime, we thought it would additionally be beneficial to take a look at how to lime and specifically what materials are required.
It’s normally added in the form of a limestone product commonly referred to as “garden lime”.
This contains an ingredient known as calcium carbonate and is recommended because it’s easy to spread and widely available to purchase.
Other options include calcified seaweed and ground chalk.
Ground magnesium limestone, known as “dolomite lime”, which is incredibly rich in both magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate can also be used.
It’s an excellent option if the soil where you live is lacking in magnesium and can provide a much-needed source of plant nutrition.
Hydrated lime, the kind that is typically sold for use by the building trade, is also acceptable to use.
This is a much finer powder. Its benefit is that it works quickly but on the flip side, it can irritate your eyes and cause damage to the skin if not handled correctly.
Method of Application
If you are applying more than 0.5kg per square meter (14 ¾ oz per square yard), we suggest that you dig half of the lime into the soil and sprinkle the rest on the surface after digging.
If you’re applying much less than that amount, the best action is to dig the entire amount in.
It is, however, possible to sprinkle lime on the surface around your plants and flowerbeds if digging isn’t a practical consideration.
In terms of the recommended quantities to apply, that’s likely to be determined by the type of soil that you have.
Clay content in soil can resist changes in pH, referred to as buffering capacity.
That means more lime will be required to be effective.
We’ve made some recommendations below of the quantity of garden lime you’d require based on certain soil types and areas.
This is based on using a commonly available calcium carbonate product that you should be able to purchase in any local gardening center.
For the majority of most garden plants, the best all-round pH is considered to be pH6.5, which is what the below calculations should deliver.
Original pH of Soil
Kilograms per sqm
Ounces per sqyd
Original pH of Soil
Kilograms per sqm
Ounces per sqyd
Original pH of Soil
Kilograms per sqm
Ounces per sqyd
Cautions and Problems
Please be sure to take good care when handling builders’ lime in particular.
This type of hydrated lime can cause irritation to the skin and eyes so we recommend that you wear safety goggles and protective gloves when handling this substance.
That way, you can protect against any potential adverse reaction.
You may find that your plants suffer from a disease known as clubroot if your soil contains insufficient lime levels.
Other plant nutrient deficiencies can also be as a result of too much acid in your soil or even too alkaline conditions.
What Garden Plants Need Lime
Lime helps reduce the acidic levels in soil, allowing them to thrive better, but you must always check your soil’s pH level whenever you intend planting something new. That way, you can be sure that the environment is appropriate for the specific plants.
Just as the best results are obtained by lime-loving plants when special consideration is given to the soil conditions they’re in, the same is true for acid-loving plants.
It’s a good idea to keep all your acidic-loving plants together in one location so that it’s easier to administer lime without damaging any of your other plants and shrubs that prefer different conditions to thrive.
So wherever practical, try to keep them together in one bed or neighboring beds.
Best Wire for Chicken Coops – Setting up a chicken coop with a few chickens at home is a rewarding way to get your own supply of eggs as well as some fun and interesting pets that you can take care of.
Chicken ownership isn’t a lifelong dream for everyone, but it is a practical way to obtain home-grown eggs without too much work.
When setting up a coop, you would need the best wire for chicken coops.
Both the coop itself and your chicken run should be secured so that your chickens can live safely and happily.
Today, we will cover the top wire options you can use to build, repair, and manage your chicken compound.
These are some of the best options around, but they are each a bit unique.
Pay attention to the qualities in our buyer’s guide, as well as the answers to common questions so that you can choose the right option for your home and ensure you have a secure coop.
The ½-Inch Galvanized Welded Chicken Cage Wire is a high-quality roll of galvanized hardware cloth or chicken wire, which is long enough to set up most runs.
The 19-gauge wire used to make this fencing is easy to cut with scissors, and you can shape it up as needed by simply bending the fencing since it holds its shape very well.
The openings on this hardware cloth fencing are only ½” by ½”, so you can be confident that raccoons, foxes, and other predators will have a hard time bending the fence, reaching throw, or chewing it apart.
Amagabeli Galvanized Welded Chicken Cage Wire Pros and Cons
This long roll of high-quality chicken cloth is available in both 50 feet and 100 feet rolls, so you can save money by buying it in bulk and also make your overall construction easier since you won’t need to worry about running out.
This particular fencing has great strength and durability ratings because it is made from galvanized and welded 19-gauge wire that can stand up to the elements, protect your chickens from predators, and last for more than one or two years since the metal has been treated properly.
Some people have struggled with the huge roll because it gets looser when you unwrap it, and then you need to wrap it tighter to be able to store it easily again.
The best way to avoid this issue is to try not to buy much more fencing than you need to use or get a friend to help you rewrap it up before you put it into storage.
Different sized rolls available
Galvanized metals last longer than comparable rolls
This is a hardware cloth chicken fencing you can use to protect chickens in their coops or run with ease.
The Fencer Wire is a 19-gauge hardware cloth with ½” by ½” holes.
Many chicken owners feel that this small size is ideal when dealing with predators.
The material used is a double-dipped, galvanized hardware cloth that is sure to stay strong, durable, and rust-free for longer than comparable options.
Fencer Galvanized Hardware Cloth
This brand offers hardware cloth rolls in many different heights and sizes, so it is effortless to choose an option that will save you money or fit your project perfectly.
The best way to buy is to make sure that you buy enough fencing but also consider how big of a roll you will be able to maneuver while setting up your coop.
Some owners have had issues with their Fencer Wire 19-Gauge Galvanized Hardware Cloth arriving dented, which can happen during transit even to the most durable fence types.
Thankfully, this fencing can be bent and molded in various ways without causing much damage to the fence itself, so you can easily reshape the fence using your hands or a pair of pliers with pretty good success.
All chicken wire can, at first glance, seem to be created equally.
Chicken wire is chicken wire, right? Wrong!
This wire may all seem similar at first, but there are actually quite a few important differences that you should be paying attention to when shopping around for the right chicken coop wire for your setup.
The following are the features that we believe to be most important when determining which you want to invest in:
Chicken Wire Size
The first thing that you want to consider about chicken wire is the size.
When talking about the size of chicken wire, you are referring to the size of the wire openings.
There are many different sizes of chicken wire available.
Small chicken wire is usually around ½ inches, and larger varieties can be one or two inches.
The pattern on the chicken wire is nearly always hexagonal, and the most common chicken wires are 18 or 20 gauge in weight.
The ½-inch chicken wire is most commonly used because it is pretty small and may help to prevent some predator break-ins, but you should go as small as possible.
If you can find a ¼-inch chicken wire or double up chicken wire layers to make the holes even smaller, that is a good idea to keep your chickens safe.
Chicken Wire Material
Most chicken wire is made out of some type of metal.
You can find chicken wire made from metal, steel, bare steel, galvanized steel, and other coated metals, as well; the galvanized chicken wire is most common.
Galvanized metal is coated with zinc to prevent corrosion and rusting, so it is good to have galvanized items when there is a possibility of exposure to elements causing such.
When you choose a chicken wire made from galvanized steel or iron, it will be less likely to rust or corrode.
You can also find chicken wire that is galvanized and also coated in plastic.
The plastic coating will ensure even more additional years of use from the wire, so that can be a good choice.
Chicken wire usually rusts in about five years when used in a dry climate, and it may need to be replaced more frequently in damp climates.
The size of the overall chicken wire holes isn’t the only size-related aspect that you want to think about; there is also gauge size to consider.
Gauge is the width of the wire used to create the chicken wire fence.
This usually ranges from 19 to 22 when looking at the wire.
Durability and strength increase with gauge when looking at the galvanized wire, but the gauge isn’t the only thing that affects strength.
The overall strength of the chicken wire will depend on how tight the weave is; chicken wire that has a high gauge and small holes, such as a ½-inch wire, will be solid.
Strong chicken wire is important for ensuring that it won’t get bent out of shape easily, it won’t break down easily, and will help to keep predators out.
Should you need to find something even stronger than chicken wire to protect against extra-determined predators, using hardware cloth can be a good choice.
You’ll find a few examples of that powerful material on today’s list.
It would be best if you consider what your budget is for chicken wire.
You must also know how much is reasonable to pay for each foot of wire.
The cost is usually related to weave tightness, and the gauge of the wire used to make the fence.
Chicken Coop Wire FAQs
1. How Do You Attach Chicken Wire to a Coop?
When using chicken wire, you need to be sure that you attach it to the coop properly so that the chickens won’t escape their designated areas and also so that predators are not able to easily move it and break into the coop.
If using a T-post to attach your wires, you can hook the wire into the tabs on the post and then use pliers to squeeze those same metal tabs shut for a secure attachment.
If you are attaching chicken wire directly to a coop or something like a fence post, you can also use staples to attach each row of chicken wire, provided that you make sure the fence is level and taut.
2. What Is Stronger Than Chicken Wire?
Chicken wire is not always going to be the right option for your chicken coop even though its name might make it seem like that is the best option.
In many areas, the chicken wire wouldn’t be strong enough to keep predators out of the coop, but there are workarounds that you can try, such as extending the wire out from the coop or digging it into the ground.
However, you might just need a different material altogether.
Another option that you can use to protect your chickens is hardware cloth, another type of wire mesh fencing that is commonly used with chicken coops and runs.
Hardware cloth is a very durable wire mesh made from thick gauge wire, has small openings, and is welded at the corners to ensure that it cannot be easily ripped or torn by animals trying to break into your coop.
If you need to find something stronger than chicken wire, we recommend hardware cloth; you could even use a combination of both!
3. Can Chickens Stand on Chicken Wire?
Chickens can stand on chicken wire, but there is a chance that it will begin to hurt their feet over time.
Additionally, their nails won’t wear down naturally since they would be on a flat, hard surface, so having a mesh floor isn’t always going to be the best idea depending on your chickens and their needs.
Ideally, you want to use something soft and natural for them to walk around on, such as pine shavings or other types of shavings.
4. How Do You Make Chicken Wire Tighter?
To be able to attach and secure the chicken wire with the right tension is a real skill, and it will take some practice to get it right.
The chicken wire itself is quite flexible, and it doesn’t lend much support to you when you are trying to get it into place.
This means that while you are attaching it to a coop, fence, or other boards, you will need to know how to stretch it so that it is taut and secure.
Here are some tips and tricks that you should use when you are trying to get your chicken wire attached properly.
They will help to ensure that it is as tight as it needs to be:
Get some help. Having one person on each end of a wire section will make stretching easier.
Set your posts before you cut any pieces so that they don’t get cut too loose.
Lay the wire next to where you will put it up after you unroll it and walk on it to get the kinks out and begin the stretching process.
Only unroll as much as you need for each post section, and stop to walk on it between those moments.
If that method doesn’t work for you, don’t despair; there are other ways to build your wire sections, too.
In this video, the chicken owner demonstrates how he is making a single fence section and making the chicken wire tighter than before:
5. Can Raccoons Bite Through Chicken Wire?
There are ways for raccoons to get through chicken wire, and it is even possible for them to chew through the chicken wire if they are really determined to get into the coop.
This, however, won’t always be their first choice.
If the holes are big enough or the wire isn’t strong enough, some raccoons will be able to pull the wire apart with their tiny hands; they are quite strong!
Chicken owners plagued with raccoon thieves stealing their eggs may want to add hardware cloth to their chicken wire fences.
Hardware cloth is a tougher type of fencing that has even smaller holes than chicken wire, usually around ¼ inches, and this type of fencing is nearly impossible for raccoons to get through if it is secured properly.
Best Wire for Chicken Coops Recommendation
Now that you’ve learned about what is the best wire for chicken coops building, it is time for you to choose your own chicken wire.