How to Make Square Foot Garden Covers with PVC

Published in SFG: Building, Square Foot Gardening on 29th November 2012

One great benefit of Square Foot Garden beds is the ability to add a cover to any one of them. Square Foot Gardeners have come up with some very creative designs and use of materials when it comes to covers. But we’ll quickly look at covers made with PVC, which are appropriately associated with SFG beds.

There are several reasons why you may want to build a PVC frame for a SFG bed. Among these are:

  • Put a plastic cover over it in order to create a tiny “greenhouse,” thus protecting plants from conditions such as frost or extremely cold weather
  • Put deer netting or other strong barrier over it to keep out small critters from eating plants
  • Put fine netting over it to keep insects off certain plants

Quick and Easy Square Foot Garden Covers

One cover style that works great for beds that are entirely “square” in shape (such as a 3′ X 3′ or 4′ X 4′) is the “dome style”.

To make this dome, all you have to do is bend two 10-foot pieces of 1/2-inch PVC over each other. The bottom of the PVC can be screwed into the frame at the bottom of the interior of a wooden bed.

The top of the PVC pipes that intersect with one another can either be screwed or tied together using plastic ties. The PVC pipe will create a strong, light and long-lasting frame for the garden bed. After the frame is built you can cut a sheet of plastic to fit over the frame in order to protect the growing plants inside.

A dome cover has a sort of “neat and tidy” look to it. But the best part is that it can be very effective for the purposes you’ve built it. Draping the appropriate material to cover the PVC frame can enable you to either extend the growing season or preserve your harvest from natural predators.

For garden beds that are longer than they are wide, a “covered wagon” type of cover style works very well. All you have to do is bend a few lengths of PVC across the garden bed, screw the bottoms to the wooden garden bed, and then attach another piece of pipe across the top (lengthwise) of all the bent PVC sections.

After the wagon frame is set up, the bed is ready to be covered with plastic, netting or other material (depending upon your goal).

The main point here is that PVC frames don’t have to be complicated or expensive. The compact size of SFG beds lends itself to using materials such as PVC and plastic sheeting, which most gardeners can use to create covers without too much difficulty.

You can learn all of the details on how to plan a Square Foot Garden with Mel Bartholomew’s all new, Square Foot Gardening book.

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