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Covers for raised beds


 
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Yorky
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree


Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 196

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject: Covers for raised beds Reply with quote

I had problems last year with torrential rain on my raised beds so I'm thinking about covering them with plastic, mini-polytunnel style.

I intend to fix protruding screws along each long side of the top edge of each bed and push 20mm water pipe on to each for the 'hoops'. Then drape clear plastic over and wrap each end of the plastic with a length of timber to weigh it down. The ends would be left open for ventilation.

A few questions:

Is this a good idea?
What height should I make the top of the hoops?
How many would I need for a 2m long bed?
What size of timber (depth x heighth) to weigh the plastic down?

Thanks in advance.
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Gardening Daddy
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 16 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:42 pm    Post subject: Covers for raised beds Reply with quote

Hi Yorky,

I did something similar with my 8x4 foot raised beds. I had thought about a plastic cover originally but after doing some research I opted for fleece instead. The reason for this was I wanted to protect the plants from insects as well as heavy rains and late spring frosts while allowing air to circulate. My main concern with your approch would be the open ends allowing insects in, whereas the fleece will allow all over protection without over heating. The plastic will no doubt protect from heavy rains but unless you've got a good irrigation/ watering regime or are planning on taking it on and off as needed which seems like a bit more work than a lazy gardener like myself is prepared to do, it will involve a lot of monitoring, and remember plants prefer rain water over tap water as it contains necessary minerals not generally found in abundance in tap water. I'm not a fleece sales man (or a fleecing sales man... sorry, terrible joke) but from what I can see the fleece servers most of my needs by giving protective cover from late spring chills or frost, dispersing heavy rains & avoiding damage to plants while still allowing essential rain water to get to through while protecting against insects attacks (not a 100% effective I'm sure but then again what is?) and apparently it also provides some protection against scorching in full sun...is there anything it can't do?  So I guess unless you're actually after full overhead cover with the plastic it might be worth considering, but as I say that's just my experience. The only caveat, yes there's always one, that I can see is it may not be as durable as plastic but it does come in different grades and prices so shop around. It can be applied the same way as the plastic as you said "fix protruding screws along each long side of the top edge of each bed and push 20mm water pipe on to each for the 'hoops'. Then drape clear plastic over" (or in my case fleece) "and wrap each end of the plastic with a length of timber to weigh it down"

Best of luck with which ever method you choose!
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