Instructables
Picture of Eye-Catching Raised Garden Bed
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When you decide to garden, sometimes the natural environment fights you for the ability to do what you want. Who am I kidding, Nature's always fighting you.

At my house, we have 2 major problems, Gophers and Moles. So one of our goals was to have a garden we could keep gophers and moles out of.

It was pretty crazy to actually catch both animals in my yard.

In addition to that, we needed a separation in our yard to identify where our 26 month-old son was allowed to wander and not. With that in mind we looked to raised garden beds.

Though wood is a common material, we've had termite problems in the past and chose to stay away from attracting them again.

Eventually we came up with a solution. We had put in a vinyl fence a few years ago and had a leftover piece that we had cut from a full panel.
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=285553-73428-66DEPAJ&lpage=none

With that piece in hand we sought out what the expense was.

Step 1: Big Picture helps

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We wanted to know what this would cost us, what materials we would need and whether it would actually be worth it.

A standard panel was $60 from Lowes, (plug) and had 11 vertical slats, meaning we could cut the panel into 2-slat pieces and have enough for 1 square bed with leftovers.

Making the corners turned out to be a frustration of sorts. How do you join two corners and still make it look good?

What metal material do you place in the bottom to keep the gophers and moles out?

Does it have to be metal?

Lowes apparently has broken or chipped panels regularly meaning they sold us one at half off, dropping the panel price to $30.

For the bottom, we chose to use Metal Lath, which came in approximately 28" x 96" pieces for around $8. With the final internal bed dimensions being close 67" x 67", the span would require 3 panels, i.e. $24. Yes we could've used chicken wire, but gophers and moles can squeeze through. Yes, we could've used welded wire project cloth, but we found that the prices were very close to just using the lath. We could've used expanded metal (steel) but one sheet was about $60 at the vendors in town I found.

For the corners, we chose to cut square vinyl posts into right angles. Since the 2-slat sides were 12" wide, the corners would need a 12" piece on the inside and the outside as shown in the pics.
That means 8 pieces per bed at a length of (2 pieces per corner/2 pieces per foot)*(4 corners per bed) = 4 feet. A single 8 foot post was approximately $20 and would make 2 beds. That's $10/bed.

Screws could be anything with enough bite to grab the vinyl and keep it together. You can use PVC adhesives though that can be very messy and even add a lot of cost. We used 8 screws in each corner and 6 screws along each side to attach the lath. To keep the joints together, you can use zip ties, weave bailing wire, any number of options. PVC glue cost us about $8 for the cleaner, prep and actual glue. And we all but used up the size of containers we purchased.

In addition, one thing we found was that the gap between the slats would become a frustration because of the inevitable "seeping" of dirt after rains, so we need to bond a strip of vinyl in the gap. The pieces we found were around $1.50 each for an 8' strip, so a total of $6 per bed.

Total cost of the bed: $30 + $10 +$24 + $6 + $12 = $82 (Super expensive, OUCH!)

But, it would match our fence (mattered to my wife but not so much to me)
AND it would last for a very, very, very long time. And probably outlast half a dozen wooden beds.

Plus the now vertical supports make for a very simple method of converting these into hot beds in the winter.
 
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PapaGeek3 years ago
Hey good looking bed you got there. Did you do any research about how safe PVC is for vegetable gardening? I am not able to find anything reliable, If you did research please do share.
KardeHK4 years ago
Love this! Looks fantastic.

DId you build the cover for this yet?
Ninzerbean4 years ago
Great! I think a wiener dog would make short work of those varmints. You are welcome to borrow mine if you bring him back.
iamsecond4 years ago
Which vinyl fence model did you use?
 
Pkranger88 (author)  iamsecond4 years ago
We built our fence using Lowe's American Dogear.  We were also able to purchase slightly damaged panels at half price.
very nice ideas...a LOT of those darn creatures get into our garden as well
Pkranger88 (author)  explosivemaker4 years ago
We trap around 3-4 moles a year and at least 1 gopher, just in our yard.  I still plant in the ground, but only things that aren't practical in the beds.  Thanks for looking.
I'm not sure if they go for certain veggies in particular. I don't believe they tried to eat our onions; it'd be handy if there were certain plants that would repel them.
Pkranger88 (author)  explosivemaker4 years ago
The problem is that moles go after worms, grubs, etc and gophers go after plants.  The issue is that either one can destroy a garden and trapping them is the most effective way to get rid of them. 

As for plants to deter them, I've read that skunk cabbage or skunk can be used because they emit a smell similar to a skunk.  Their effectiveness though is highly contested. 

I haven't tried growing yellow or white onions though, so I don't know if we would have problems.
If it gets bad enough, it might come to that.

Interesting note about the cabbage; we haven't tried growing it before...it might be crazy enough to work. Although in the summer time, there is quite an abundance of skunks in the area already. Lol