How to Cover a Raised Garden Bed to Extend Your Growing Season


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How to Cover a Raised Garden Bed to Extend Your Growing Season

Today, Dan and I are going to show you how to cover a raised garden bed. It’s not too hard to do, and since winter will be on us before we know it, now’s the perfect time to get to work!

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This post is the final installment of Tuesdays in the Garden 2017! I hope you have enjoyed these posts. I know I enjoy writing them. Hopefully, we’ll be back in the early spring with more useful posts to help you have the most successful garden ever!

attach the fabric to one side of the raised garden bed

How to Cover a Raised Garden Bed to Extend Your Growing Season

Benefits of Covering Your Garden Beds

There are several good reasons to cover your garden beds – one is to keep off unwanted critters which is the reason I first covered one garden bed this spring. Garden bed covers are a really effective way to keep cucumber beetles off your cucurbit crop and cabbage worms off your cabbages. But another great reason to cover a garden bed is to extend your growing season. Covered beds are an effective way to provide frost and wind protection. You can use them to extend your growing season in the fall and also to give you a jump on planting in the spring!

cover a raised garden bed

Materials You’ll Need to Cover a Raised Garden Bed 

  • 2 – 1″x 2″ boards cut the same length as your raised bed
  • 1/2″ pvc pipe that will become your cover – 5 hoops for a 4′ x 8′ bed
  • 10 plastic two-hole pipe straps to attach the pvc pipe to the bed
  • Frost blanket large enough to cover your bed (we actually used Owens Corning loose fill insulation fabric that we hand on hand for our Oak Tree Homes construction company. It shredded in our first major storm so I’m not sure how it compares in durability to a cover specifically made for a garden.) This 25″ [easyazon_link identifier=”B00LB3SC0A” locale=”US” tag=”sililo-20″]frost blanket by Agribon[/easyazon_link] costs $17 on Amazon and would be enough to cover 2-  4′ x 8′ raised beds.
  • Staples for the fabric and screws for the pipe straps
  • You’ll also need something to hold the cover in place. We screwed one long side to the bed and then used rocks to hold the other sides in place.

Let’s get to it! How to Cover a Raised Garden Bed

attaching pvc pipes to raised garden beds

Attach 5 pvc pipes to raised garden beds with plastic pipe straps. I had my helpful hubby screw them on with his cordless impact driver. Actually, I didn’t have him do anything. He’s the genius of this operation. He knew exactly what to do. 😉

Bend the PVC pipes over the raised garden beds

Next, bend the pipes over the garden bed and attach the other ends with straps.

laying out the raised garden bed

Continue bending pipes until they’re all bent. 😉 Now, you’ll need to measure your loops to see how big your fabric needs to be. We added an extra foot to make sure we had enough after we finished stapling it to the boards.

Staple the fabric to boards cut the length of your garden bed

Measure and cut two boards (we used 1″ by 2″ scrap lumber we had around the barn shop) to the length of your garden bed. We stapled the fabric on one side of the board and then we rolled the board and stapled it again to make sure it would stay in place. Stapling the fabric to the board twice helped secure it better to keep out bugs etc.

open cover on raised garden bed
bug free cabbage thanks to covered raised garden bed

The last thing to do is screw one of the boards with the fabric attached to it to one side of the raised bed. Then you’ll open and close it from the other side. It’s pretty slick! It just slides right on down the pipes and falls into place. Make sure you tighten any extra fabric on the short sides of the beds to hold them securely in place. Twisting the fabric like a bread wrapper and setting a rock on it worked well. You don’t want the wind whipping it around. When you want to open it, remove the rocks and roll up the fabric on the loose 1×2 board to keep it tidy.

And that’s all there is to it! See what a nice job the cover also did keeping bugs off my cabbages? I love my covered raised garden bed!

We did some rough math on what it would cost to build this bed, and think if you have to buy all supplies, it would cost around $25-$30 per bed, but don’t hold me to that as prices will vary! 😀

How to start a fall vegetable garden

15 Fall garden tasks that I still need to do!

5 Tips for decorating for fall with natural objects


Winter garden chores you can do even when there’s snow on the ground 

Tuesdays in the Garden

Winter prep is the theme of this last Tuesdays in the Garden of 2017! Check out all of the helpful information from the Tuesdays in the Garden gang by clicking on the links or the pictures. We sure do hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s Tuesdays in the Garden as much as we have! Please go ahead and click on the links to check out all of the helpful information!

frugal family home

Tasks to do before it snows from Shelly at FrugalFamilyHome

an oregon cottage

Fall / Winter garden prep from Jami at An Oregon Cottage

homemade food junkie

Tips for planning next year’s garden from Patti at Hearth & Vine

Taking stock of your garden for better planning from Diane at Homemade Food Junkie

angie the freckled rose

Planning ahead for next year’s garden – Angie the Freckled Rose

Well, have you covered a raised garden bed? I’d love to hear if you used the same methods we did!

How to cover a raised garden bed to protect against insects and also to extend your growing season. It's not super hard!

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. Those hoops are so slick! Such a handy garden addition. Dave uses his raised beds garden hoops year round for trellis supports and to protect his precious peppers and tomato starts from rain and wind. I’m really curious about the cover you are using. Did you find one that will survive the winds? We just use 6 mil plastic but in a big windstorm it flies all over. Still need a solution for that.

    1. Unfortunately, it did not survive one wind storm. We had winds in excess of 80 mph one night and that got the raised bed. But it is very windy here most of the time and it survived fine until that one excessive storm. 🙁

  2. Hi Michelle,

    That sure is slick. If I had a raised bed I would definitely want to build a cover like this. So simple and useful. One of these days…..

  3. Love this so much – it’s so good seeing you embrace the raised bed concept for some of your garden. 🙂 I love having more control over these beds than open ground – you can plant earlier, protect from bugs easier and extend the harvest like you show here. Your cover looks so neat and tidy (especially compared to mine, ha!).

    1. Thanks, Jami. I really love the cover and the beds. They’re fabulous for a lot of smaller plants. But I’m also reworking the main garden area this year too for things I don’t want to plant in a 4’x8′ raised bed, like corn and potatoes and garlic. 🙂

  4. For years we covered all of our raised beds in the spring. Then when it warmed up I would uncover them for an “instant” garden. Then we had to replace our raised beds and never got new ones made. I’m hoping to get some made over the winter so we can use them in the spring. They are so nice to have.

  5. The year I decided to do this was such a great year for crops! It made a huge difference, and I used the same materials in a very similar way. The frost blanket really worked with the hoop house. The only thing I had a problem with was heavy ice ripping my cover and wind storms. I learned the hard way that New England conditions are severe, harsh and really difficult to deal with. It needed some fixing, but it still held up! Seriously great advice 🙂