Raised vegetable garden

Ribs for a raised vegetable garden ‘roof’

If you want to start your growing season a little early, add some light shade or keep out pests while growing your edibles, or want to extend your crops into cooler weather, there is nothing better than to build a roof on your raised vegetable garden. You can cover your raised vegetable garden beds easily with clear plastic sheeting or add netting to keep out pests. Plastic makes an excellent temporary roof for extending your growing season. But first you need to make a frame on which your roof covering will rest. Try creating bent U-shaped ribs. They are easy to make and you can leave them in place even after removing the covering in hot, sunny weather.

You can bend long lengths of PVC for ribs. Or you can use wood or bamboo. The trick to getting them to bend without snapping is to soak the wood or bamboo in water for at least 24 hours  to soften it up.

Then attach heavy duty plastic sheeting to the ribs. Sometimes you can reuse heavy clear plastic that was used as a drop cloth for painting or other work so long as it isn’t torn or too dirty. Do not reuse plastic that has been used around toxic materials. You can use regular staples, tie the plastic on with recycled wire ties saved from vegetables at the grocery store, or twine thin wire around the supports to hold the plastic in place. You can re-use wire threaded through rolls of chicken wire to keep the rolls closed. These are just some suggestions.

Build a roof on your raised gardens to mediate temperature extremes and protect your raised beds from insect and larger sized pests. And you can do it easily, cheaply and even use recycled materials to roof your garden. Just remember to water the interior regularly. A timed drip irrigation system is one convenient way to make sure things don’t dry out.