Do you struggle with birds constantly eating your vegetables and seedlings? Me too! I love planting lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, beets, broccoli, peas, cabbage, and cauliflower, but the birds eat them as soon as they sprout.
It’s so bad, that one year I didn’t get any beets, spinach, peas or swiss chard because the birds ate everything the second it sprouted from the ground. I tried those bright whirligigs, pie plates, CDs, and just plain old yelling at them every time I walked by, but none of it worked.
I even removed half of their habitat–some old cedars against the house that were very much past their prime. I hoped that would encourage the birds to move elsewhere, but Scrappy (the ringleader who looks like he fought with a cat and won) and his little band of hungry birds lived on another year to feast upon my vegetables.
I just wish the birds would stay out of my vegetable garden and eat my weeds instead!
After a while, I finally got smarter. I figured out a DIY solution using dollar store supplies that you can easily make in 10 minutes or less. I’ll give you all the supplies and directions below! And, if you want to see the step-by-step process, check out the video below:
How to Make a Cover to Protect Your Garden From Birds
You’ll need the following supplies, most of which can easily be picked up at the dollar store, Amazon, or a big box store. In the video and pictures, I used a white cloth designed to keep bugs out, because I needed to use that cloth anyway for my broccoli. If you are planting something else or don’t struggle with flea beetles and moths, you could use bird netting instead. I will list both options and you can choose.
- roll of white gardening fabric or roll of bird netting
- large binder clips
- hula hoops (I used two here, but you may use more or less, depending on your needs)
- heavy duty scissors
1. Cut the Hoola Hoops
In my setup, I used two hula hoops and crossed them over each other. If you need to cover rows, you would not need to cross them, and could even cut the hoop in half to get two pieces, instead of using one hoop as the whole piece. Do what makes sense for your space.
Hula hoops can be tricky to cut, and they may be filled with water or pebbles of some kind. I found it easier if I bent the spot I wanted to cut first, then cut it. Once the hula hoops are cut, you can stick them 4-6 inches deep into the ground.
2. Cut and Arrange the Fabric
If you are making more of a traditional row cover, you would just cut one long piece the length of your row, plus enough at each end to read the ground to be tied or held down. The fabric on mine in this configuration is held down with a brick. If the hula hoops are wider than your fabric, you’ll need two pieces of fabric the same size and clip one to each side of the hula hoop.
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3. Clip with Binder Clips and Enjoy Your Bird-Free Vegetable Garden
The binder clips make setting up your hoop house so simple. No sewing, no fussing, and it can all be taken apart and reused as needed year after year.
No matter what your project is, you’ll probably need more binder clips than you think, and once you see how easy this method is you’ll probably do it in other spots in your garden. I suggest ordering or buying at least a 24-pack of clips, so you’re well prepared!
related: keeping bugs off your broccoli.
Will you make this protective cover? I’d love to know if you do! Find me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube for more vegetable gardening and cut flower tips and to follow my cold-climate, short-season gardening journey in real-time!
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