Small animals can really do a number on our seedlings. Their tender leaves are so yummy to chickens, rabbits, squirrels and other pests. It’s not unusual to find that our seedlings have been chewed down to the stems if we are not careful to protect them. Here’s how to make a small plant cage that will protect your seedlings until they are large enough to withstand small creature visits.
You might be wondering whether it’s worth using individual cages versus a larger garden cage. Here are a few reasons I chose them:
- seedlings grow at varying rates, depending on variety and species
- while large garden cages provide accessibility, small singular plant cages allow for quicker access
- easy to build
- not as much bulk to handle if you only need to get to one or two plants
- plant cages can be used in raised beds, container, and in-ground gardens
- these cages can be made as large or small as you’d like
- they can be used to protect vegetables until you are able to harvest them
How to Build a Small Plant Cage
These plant cages come together so quickly and are very easy to make. The hardware cloth isn’t the easiest to work with, but it offers much better protection than chicken wire.
What you need:
- 1/2″ hardware cloth, 2′ width is perfect for protecting seedlings for a few months
- a pair of tin snips
- wire clip pliers
- wire cage clips
- tape measure
How to Build It:
Step 1: Roll out your hardware cloth to the length you want it. Cut a straight line with your tin snips.
If you want it a specific size of plant cage, you’ll need to roll your cloth into that particular size. Basically, you are just taking the cut end and making a cylinder shape with the cloth, then measuring the opening. When you have the right size opening, mark your hardware cloth by clipping where you will cut it. Then cut!
It’s okay if it’s almost exactly the size you need, because you will be fastening the ends together pretty closely. Also, get your wire clip pliers and cage clips ready.
Step 2: Fasten the cloth edges together at both ends so the cloth holds a cylinder shape.
Step 3: Finish fastening the ends together the full length of the cylinder. If you have trouble doing that (because it’s kind of a pain), you can weave some of the wire that the hardware cloth came with along the length of the cylinder, “sewing” it together.
Step 4: on one end of the cylinder, press the hardware cloth as flat as you can, lining up the holes. Fasten together with the cage clips along that pressed edge.
Want a printable copy of these instructions? CLICK HERE TO GET THEM
How to Use the Plant Cage
If you have animals/critters that will knock these over, you can use garden staples to hold them down. Otherwise, you can install them with a twisting motion, then wet the soil and allow it to dry around the bottom of the cage.
Kristina Francis says
I just finished making my 10th cage after a varmit demolished my newly planted delphiniums!!! Probably a young wild rabbit! I had made the cages before & read your email!!! It’s working great so far!!!