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  • Writer's pictureThe Collected Seed

Lampshade plant cloche

Mrs. Peter Cottontail has done a number on my peas... So I'm taking steps to save the rest of my veggies!

I've mostly grown in containers since moving to my current home, but a few years ago I started expanding my veggie growing space with some permaculture techniques. I'll tell you all about that in another post but I now have a ground-level vegetable bed that animals can easily get into.

Last spring was the first season I was able to grow veggies in the area. I picked the end that I knew was the most "mature" meaning the limbs, compost, wood chips and more had plenty of time to break down.

The test went pretty well and aside from letting the area get overgrown with grass, which a bunny then nested in, I didn't see any real problems. The bunnies didn't do any noticeable damage either.

Come fall, I tried to grow a few heads of lettuce in the area. I was struggling to get them established when they suddenly began to disappear. The roots were still there, but they were eaten to the ground.

Once the baby bunnies had left the nest and Mrs. Cottontail with them, I weeded the overgrown grass and didn't see rabbits much again. My dog got hold of one - which I was able to save - but that seemed to send a message. And I didn't see rabbits after that, but with the lettuce disappearing, I suspected they were around but out-of-sight.

Fast forward to this spring. I planted peas in early March and those plants have never gotten more than two inches tall before being eaten to the ground! Mrs. Cottontail, or Baby Cottontail was back, and chowing down on my plants.

One of my weekend projects? Chicken wire on EVERYTHING! LOL

I began wrapping the bases of plant supports with chicken wire, but needed something smaller and easy to move for just a few seedlings.

A few years ago, I saw a chicken wire covered lampshade and thought it would make a great plant cloche. I began purchasing old lampshades when I was at the thrift store and stashed them in my garage meaning to get to the project.

Between Mrs. Cottontail, COVID-19 boredom, and a teeth-chattering cold front Sunday afternoon, I finally had the motivation.

Here's what you'll need:

Lampshade (see notes in Step 1)

Step 1: Choose the right lampshade. Some lampshades are just a ring at the top and second ring at the bottom. You need a lampshade that has support wires running between the top and bottom rings. I learned this the hard way and threw out 4 or 5 shades. Since shades are covered on the outside and inside, hold it up to the light to see if you notice the support wires, then thump it to see if it is a wire or a seam in the fabric. Also, drum shades will be much easier to cover but tapered shades are easier to find at the thrift store.

Step 2: Rip the old fabric off of the lampshade. I used a box cutter along the top and bottom rings to slice the fabric. Then scissors finished off the job. Be sure to wear heavy-duty gloves when using the box cutter and take your time. Be careful and be safe.

Step 3: Once the old fabric is removed, loosely wrap the chicken wire around the shade and trim it to length.

Step 4: Starting around the base of the shade, secure the chicken wire with florists wire.

Step 5: Working your way up from the bottom, wrap the overlapping ends of the wire over one of the horizontal support wires in the shade. (See image above.) Twist them together on the inside of the shade to reduce the number of times you'll be scraped by it in the garden. ;)

Step 6: Trim the wire at the top and secure with florists wire the same way you did along the bottom.

Step 7: Don't forget to cover the top with wire too!

Step 8: Place in the garden and secure with landscape pins to keep it from being knocked or blown over.

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