It’s the time of year when I walk the perimeter of our backyard and make repairs to the fence. It’s the only thing that separates our perennials from the gang of woodchucks that terrorizes the gardens in my neighborhood. In the back corner, some of the boards have rotted and come loose. Through the wide gap (plenty of room for a woodchuck), I can see my neighbors’ yards, including the garden of Vicki, who also works here at Gardener’s Supply.
For years, we have commiserated on the woodchuck problem in our neighborhood. I finally gained control by fencing the back yard and burying chicken wire along the perimeter. It’s totally secure as long as the fence is maintained. Vicki, on the other hand, has an exposed yard and a fence would not be practical. Year after year, she’d tell me of lost crops: lettuce, broccoli, peas and more. Eventually, she succeeded in growing lettuce in Self-Watering Hanging Baskets. A small crop, but a victory nonetheless.
I felt a little guilty, knowing that the woodchucks I’d displaced were surely feasting on her crops while my asters and phlox were safe. So, I was excited to hear that she’d found a way to protect her crops from the woodchucks. What’s more, no shots were fired! The secret is the Pop-Up Net, a self-supporting cube that protects a 3×3-foot zone. Vicki anchored it to the ground with the stakes that come with the net, but it also fits perfectly on a 3×3 Grow Bed — or any 3×3 raised bed. “Every night we had salad — thanks to the Pop-Up Nets,” Vicki says. “I was worried the woodchucks would dig under the net, so I banked mulch around the edges. But, even when I forgot to maintain the mulch I had no problems. Maybe I just got lucky.”
The nets come in two heights: a 20″ tall and 48″ tall. “This year, I plan to try more crops — probably beets, carrots or chard, and maybe some brassicas under tall net,” Vicki says. “Also, I’m looking forward to having flowers in my hanging baskets again”.