A Hinged Cover for a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

hinged raised vegetable bed

What’s another way of describing a raised bed vegetable garden? How about “feral cat litter pan,” “Skunk feeding troth,” or “Dog exercise pen?”

The solution to these problems? Netting or row cover. The problem is that vegetables need a lot of tending so you’re always pulling off and on the cover. And, inevitably, you forget to put it back on one evening and that’s the night a skunk goes on a grub hunting party.

This year I decided to create a hinged cover for one of my raised beds so that I can easily access vegetables without having to remove the bird netting or row cover each time I want to access the bed. I’ve found that I can remove the netting once the vegetables have matured.

To create the cover I made a frame with some 2 x 2 inch lumber and bent some electrical conduit pipe (and a piece of leftover copper pipe) for the hoops.  I put some gate hinges on the back, stood back and named my creation: Vegetable Guantanamo.

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  1. I made something similar a year and a half ago! Mine was to keep the chickens out, any other benefits are secondary. It also does a great job protecting veggies from stray basket and soccer balls.

    I just finished a different cover for a second bed, as the hinged cover is hard on the hinges and requires a pot or something to hold the cover up. And I have to put all of the hens into the run before I open it. The new one has pvc and poultry netting around it–hopefully I will be able to sneak in under the net or at a joint. NO pics yet.


  2. I use extra large binder clips. The electrical conduit is just pushed into the soil against the exterior wood in the spacing I like, plastic over the top and binder clips to hold it all. Taking off a binder clip or two on the ends allows ventilation in the shoulder seasons and taking them off on the bottom and accessing the bed from one side isn’t too much work. I use re-inforced construction plastic. It has a netting woven into it and you can get it UV grade. It lasts longer and is tougher than any greenhouse plastic I’ve ever worked with.

    Of course I should say that I have an irrigation system plumbed from thrown out, freecycled, weeper hose. I open the sides very rarely and the ends daily during that shoulder season. It allows me to keep the plastic on into deep snows where I think hinges would break if I had to dig out and lift the whole thing. Zone 4 here.

  3. My growing beds are too close for hinged covers. Instead, I staple 4 mil plastic (netting would also work) on 1 x 3’s and flip them from side to side when I want to weed, harvest, or water.

  4. My one bed becomes a “chicken dance floor.” They actually peck and scratch in unison, like a choreographed dance. I wonder if a storm door with only the frame could be used for this, attaching the hoops somehow. At any rate, I do like the idea.

    How do you keep the wood lying on soil from rotting?

    • What about forming chicken wire over a frame–would that keep them out? Netting/tulle/row cover could go over the wire if you wanted to keep smaller critters out too.

    • I was thinking hardware cloth for some of the raccoons that like to dine in my yard. On top of that could go whatever protective material. Chicken wire won’t keep a raccoon from a midnight snack.

  5. That’s a pretty freakin’ brilliant idea. You’re right; so much easier than having to pull netting on and off all the time, or in our case, protective fabric covers for when it freezes.

  6. We call our raised beds the deer buffet. I use low tunnels in winter to protect the beloved greens. Best wishes!

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic idea! After months of searching for a solution to keeping my dogs out of my raised beds while still having access to my plants,
    I found your post. Perfect and although I am creative, I
    never would have come up with this.

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