Category Archives: Grow

Vegetable Garden Canopy

I asked my dad to provide step-by-step instructions on how he made a canopy for my veggie garden so I could post it on my blog. Instead, he sends me an entire blog post sans step-by-step instructions…but blogging is the hard part so thanks Dad!

MY SPRING VACATION…

My latest visit to Decatur, Georgia was in early May right around planting time. My very ambitious and creative daughter Megan asked me what could be done to prevent the critters from invading her veggie garden. Megan has a way of sparking my interest, and always has a project for me when I get a chance to visit. She puts the to-do list on the imaginary blackboard. This is a reference to her Grandmom, but I digress. Taking on projects for Megan only adds to the experience of visiting and allows me to make some sort of creative contribution to the home. In other words, I secretly love it, but don’t tell her!

THE VEGETABLE GARDEN CANOPY…

OK, so the topic for this blog is how to protect the plants from getting bothered by insects, birds and squirrels. Since time was a factor and tools are limited in the Lyons den we had to improvise. Megan suggested building a wood frame and attaching a wire screen with a trap door that would open so the plants could be tended to and veggies could be harvested. I could visualize the entire project but how would we cut the wood? What sort of wire screen would we use and how much time would it take to construct such a contraption? Needless to say that idea was scrapped. The next idea was a PVC tubing design from a website I think but I am not much for reading instructions so improvisation here we come. We hit the Depot and got some 1 inch PVC pipe, some ½ inch PVC and a bag of nylon wire ties. Earlier Megan stopped at the fabric store and bought some white mosquito netting. I don’t remember the lengths of the PVC tubing or the number of yards of netting but does it really matter? Hopefully, Megan will attach a photo of this amazing project (amazing because I am amazed that it worked) so you can get a visual. Anyway, we drove the 1 inch PVC into the ground and that provided a receptacle for the ½ inch PVC. I guess the instructions were to use ¾ inch PVC so it would fit tighter but this is working so please don’t judge us. We bent the ½ inch PVC pipe into arches and put one end in each of the 1 inch pipes previously driven into the ground. Did I mention that Megan was out there the whole time, helping and directing? Where does she get that from? So, we constructed the frame and proceeded to attach the netting to the frame with nylon wire ties. Loose ends of the netting were gathered at the ends and tied and a few of the nylon ties on the ½ inch pipe were left loose in the front so that the netting can be lifted to access the veggie garden. The key here is confidence. Megan asks, “Dad, do you think this is going to work?” Dad says, “Of course it will work”. Meanwhile, I had no idea what was going to happen. I could see visions of squirrels chewing the netting to bits and laughing as they hauled it up a tree to make a hammock for their babies. I wondered if one strong gust of wind would take the entire canopy airborne and send it to the city of Atlanta like a balloon let go by a spoiled little kid that didn’t really want a balloon to start with but the parents thought it would be cool. Don’t ask me how much it cost since Megan bought everything which is another part about the project that I liked! I could go on and on but the truth is this was a very easy project and was done in a few minutes. Not to downplay the result, because from early reports the canopy has kept the critters at bay and has survived a monsoon rainstorm. Good luck Megan and I am putting in my reservation for some hot peppers to put on that roast pork sandwich in July which I forgot to request until now.

photo 2

photo 1

So that was my surprise guest blog that I never saw coming!  Pretty good for his first one, right?

And now I will attempt to explain the step-by-step instructions:

I think we used this link as a guide but my Dad clearly isn’t one for following instructions.  Luckily, everything he does turns out pretty awesome.

We got three long pieces of the 1/2 inch pvc pipe (maybe 8 feet long each).  They were whatever size Home Depot sells so we didn’t have to cut them at all.  But I suggest maybe getting 3/4 inch so they fit more snug.  We just shoved little sticks in next to them to secure them in the 1 inch pieces.

We bought 3 pieces of the small size that Home Depot sells of 1 inch pieces.  They were about 2 feet at Home Depot and we cut them each in half with a hacksaw to have 6 total pieces.

So we hammered each of the 6 1in. pieces into the corners and then put the long pieces into 3 loops securing them in the 1in. corner pieces.

I went to Hancock Fabric for the netting and didn’t get my width & length right so we had three pieces to worth with but you really just need to measure your own garden and get enough fabric to cover it.  We used wire ties to secure the netting to the piping and to connect the 3 pieces of netting together.

Anyway, the canopy is working great so far!  No veggies to steal yet but normally critters love just digging in my gardens and haven’t had any of that happen yet.  Also, there are NO bug bites on any of my plants!  Hopefully it continues to get the job done all season!

Updated photos two weeks later below! Had to pull up the netting to add cages:)

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