Do squirrels or other rodents eat the tasty bulbs you plant? You can protect your favorite irises, lilies, daffodils, and tulips with an underground steel mesh enclosure. The openings are small enough to keep the rodents out but big enough to allow the roots and shoots to grow through.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- A roll of 1" mesh welded cage wire. It's like hardware cloth with a bigger mesh--often used for animal pens.
Step 2: Measuring and Cutting
- Cut the 15' roll into twelve 15"x24"sections. The open ends of wire (at the top of the picture) in each section will become hinges.
- Cut 4" off each 24" length, leaving 15"x20" rectangles. Each rectangle is a half of one cage. If you'd prefer 18" long cages, skip this step.
- Cut a notch in each corner--snip 3 wires in each direction on each corner. This takes a 3"x4" notch out of each corner with open ends and a 3"x3" notch out of each corner with closed ends.
Step 3: Bending
Note to perfectionists like me: You may be tempted to make every bend and corner perfectly square, but trust me--it's not worth it. This thing is going underground where nobody's going to see it.
- Your sections have some inherent curve from the roll, so fold the long sides inward. Bend each side past 90 degrees to get a sharp fold, then straighten it to 90 degrees.
- Fold the short sides inward, forming a rectangular basket.
- Put one basket on top of another, then fold the open wires of one basket around the smooth edge of the other, forming a hinge as shown.
Step 4: Planting
- Dig a hole for your cage. Make it deep enough so the bulbs you are planting will be at the appropriate depth.
- Add amended soil and bulbs, spaced appropriately for the variety you are planting.
- Close the top of the cage. You can use the remaining open wires to hold the top and bottom together. Don't do this too securely because someday you will reopen the cage to split the bulbs apart.
- Bury the cage and wait for spring blooms!