I finally finished my anti-rabbit fence/coldbox frame. And I spent less than $30!
I had a fat Peter Rabbit who was killing my Tiger’s Eye beans, but he can just feed on my compost pile now. I made the frame for this “fence” tall enough to use in the fall/winter as a coldbox frame. Before frost, I’ll run out with some greenhouse plastic rolls and staple them to the frame to extend my season as long as possible. I also made the fence with a door on one side, so I can reach the dirt and all the plants and maintain a clean raised bed. (Also, check out how well my beans are growing! I have Tiger’s Eye on the right, Yellow Pencil Pod Beans on the left, and Royal Burgundy Beans at the bottom. I planted more beet seeds in the middle since the rabbit sat on the first set and killed them.)
Continue after the post break to see my list of materials and a step-by-step How To with photos!
Materials Used: I usually try to use materials that are left over from other projects just to save money and time. I did end up buying a few things for this project though. Here is a list of what I used:
- Fencing material (I used some 1-inch square fencing and some chicken wire
- Staples and staple gun (I used 3/4 inch staples, but it wouldn’t hurt to use a little bigger)
- Four 2×2 posts cut to the height you want your cold box
- Four 2×2 posts cut to the inside dimensions of your raised bed. (I’ll explain later)
- One or two 1/2 to 1 inch dowel rods
- 3″ wood screws
- Drill with screwdriver and drill bits
- Cold drink of your choice
Step 1: Build the Frame. I found some 2x2x3 posts pre-cut at Lowes. They were about $0.30/each. I used four of them for the vertical posts. Then I bought two 10ft 2×2 posts and sawed them (by hand saw – ugh!) into roughly 6ft and 3ft pieces for the horizontal posts. I say “roughly” because my raised beds are about 6×3 ft in dimension but with the 2×4 rail on the raised bed frame, the inside of the raised bed is a little smaller than 6×3.
I just stuck the vertical posts in the dirt and marked where to cut the horizontal posts that way. Then, I took the posts to the grass, cut the pieces needed, and put them together. I drilled, then screwed the two long walls one wall (two vertical posts and one horizontal post) at a time in the grass. Then stuck the vertical posts into the dirt and screwed the two short horizontal posts to the two longer walls to put it all together.
Step 2: Attach Fencing. I had some nice 1″ fencing that I used for half of the fence. I wanted something stronger than chicken wire for at least the door part. But I ran out of the nice stuff half way through. I didn’t do my math before I bought the stuff. I used chicken wire on the other half of the fence.
I measured (twice) and cut the fencing with the needle-nosed wire cutters. I didn’t think about how small the fence holes where, and needle-nosed were the only ones that fit through to cut it. That was fun with arthritic hands! I survived though.
Staple the fence to the posts. I stapled the short ends on first. Then I built the swinging door.
Step 3: Build the Swinging Door. I wanted my door to be one of the entire long walls of the raised bed coldbox frame. I stapled one end of the fencing material to one of the vertical posts. The other end of the fencing material was stapled to the dowel rod (cut to the height of the fence. I ended up bending the overlapping fence material back toward the dowel rod more than it shows in the photo below. I might end up putting some foam covering on it too. (Side note: On behalf of Bruce Wayne, I would like to mention that the green grass is ours and the yellow, dead grass is the neighbors. There is an obvious line of where our property ends and theirs begins.)
Then I made a handle out of the small piece of dowel rod that was cut off. I twisted wire around it, stapled the wire to the dowel handle, and kept twisting the long part of the wire until the end of the wire. I made a loop with the end, so it wouldn’t be poking me all the time.
I looped the wire end through the stationary side of the fence and through the door part of the fence. Make it long enough to be able to loop all the way back through to the small dowel handle. The handle stays with the stationary side of the fence. Then when you close your door, you can tightly twist the handle around the wire.
The chicken wire is shorter than the fencing, but that’s okay. I can reach my arm in there and pick beans later on. Also, I don’t need the fencing or chicken wire to go all the way to the frame height.
The frame is really all that’s needed for the coldbox to be covered in plastic. I might end up adding a 2×2 post horizontally between the two long horizontal posts (to add reinforcement for the plastic to the top of the coldbox if it snows big).
My Total Cost = $26 but if I would have purchased enough of the nicer fencing material, I would have spent about $42. I had the chicken wire at home already, and don’t remember how much it cost, but it was about $10 for a pretty big roll.
Some tools you might need!
Whether you’re tackling a heavy-duty professional job or basic fastening and maintenance, you’ll appreciate the versatility and dependability of the DEWALT DCD950B 18-Volt XRP Hammerdrill/Drill/Driver. It offers 22 clutch settings, and the 1/2-inch metal, self-tightening chuck tightens throughout operation providing superior bit-gripping strength. $105
I use my staple gun for everything. Order this one for $27, but they have some for as low as $3.
This fencing roll is 1×2 inch 14 gage 24″ tall by 100 feet long. This would have done almost all my raised beds! $53
For smaller projects, this rolls is 50 feet long for $13