Preventing Weeds and Digging Pests
Weed Prevention in Your Birdies Raised Beds
Weeds are a nuisance that nobody wants to deal with. You can reduce the chances of weeds getting into the bottom of your bed by adding landscape fabric before filling.
For best results, cut your landscape fabric so that it is 2 feet wider and longer than your raised bed. Set your bed into place, making sure it’s level, and then place the landscape fabric inside with the excess going up the walls on all four sides. Use the cardboard your box was shipped in as sheet mulch on top of the landscaping fabric.
Carefully fill your bed with soil, trying to keep the soil inside the landscape fabric and the fabric pressed tightly against the bed wall. Once you have completely covered the landscape fabric at the sides, finish filling the bed. This should prevent most weeds from entering at the bottom.
Weed seeds still can make their way into your bed via your soil, compost, or on the wind. To reduce the frequency of weed germination on the surface of your bed, use at least 3” of mulch around your plants. This prevents the seeds from reaching the soil’s surface and germinating.
Digging Pest Prevention in Your Birdies Raised Beds
Small animals like moles can come up inside your beds, and other animals like rabbits can dig under the sides to gain access. This generally only happens on beds that are directly on soil, but you can create an impermeable barrier to keep them from getting in.
½” or ¼” hardware cloth is your best solution here. Set your bed on top of the hardware cloth, and use tin snips to cut out a shape that is 2” larger on all sides than your raised bed. Place that on the soil, center your bed on top of it, and fill. Once your bed has been filled, use pavers, bricks, or even mulch or dirt to cover the hardware cloth that extends out from the sides.
If you’d like to hide the hardware cloth completely and don’t mind losing two inches of bed height, you can pull away 2” of soil over the entire surface where your bed will be. Use pliers to bend the hardware cloth up against the outside of your bed to create a fully-enclosed, cup-like shape that is custom-shaped to your bed. Backfill around the bed, being sure to cover all the hardware cloth thoroughly. Fill up your bed and you're ready to grow!