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fruit and veg netting

I'm expanding my veg plot this year and I'm wondering about what netting to use to protect my fruit and veg.  I've been putting some fine mesh over my blueberries, which seems to work, although it is unsightly.   I tried growing purple sprouting broccoli last year and didn't cover it.  It got absolutely decimated by caterpillars and I had to throw it all out.  
I'd like some advice on what type of netting to use for what, and how to support it over the crops.  I've seen some expensive things online, but it's all in various sizes and types.  I have lots of bamboo and would like to make use of it, but I'm not very handy.  Can anyone give any suggestions on how to cheaply create cages and protections, and what type/density of netting to use for what?  Is there a one size fits all?  I want to grow broccoli again, I have raspberries and blueberry bushes and I want to grow other brassicas and some parsnips possibly.  All help most appreciated.  


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 9,959
    I'd just mention the size of the holes in the netting and the need to allow pollinators access to fertilize soft fruits.
    Last year I realized I'd covered my perpetual strawberries with netting with a fine mesh that wouldn't allow access for bees, so I replaced it when I realized.
    I leave the blueberries uncovered until the fruits begin to form then cover them.
    I covered my broccoli with butterfly netting, but just one or two leaves were touching the netting and butterflies noticed and laid eggs. The entire crop was done for.
    I got my netting from Harrod Horticulture.
    I was very surprised to find that a few CD's hanging on bits of string deterred birds from my raspberries last year and I had a great crop without covering them at all.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,428
    edited February 2020
    This site (to which I have no connection) sell various different types of netting and the descriptions they give for each include a suggestion of the best use for each type. 

    I've watched butterflies squeeze through holes much smaller than their wingspan to get at purple sprouting broccoli. So for brassicas you need a fine mesh. I use a very fine 'veggie-mesh' which is fixed to timber battens that I screw down to my raised bed edge boards on 3 sides and tie down on the 4th side (for access). It goes over a frame made up of a combination of metal posts (bought from the site linked above) and bamboo canes all held together with 'build a balls'. It's 1.5m tall so the plants don't reach the mesh (as Pete says - they lay eggs through the mesh if they get a chance).

    As Pete also said, you need to use a net with much larger holes on plants that have to be pollinated (fruit bushes). My blueberries and currants are covered by bird mesh on a frame made of blue polythene pipe (with short bamboo canes pushed into the ground and then the pipe ends pushed onto the canes and bent over to make a 'tunnel'). Then I have gravel boards along the sides a) so I can strim the weeds up to the edge of the net and b) to stop the blackbirds getting under the netting at the edges (with only partial success most years). Raspberries fend for themselves. I grow the yellow ones - less attractive to the birds than red and I don't tie them up - it's harder to pick the fruit but also harder for the birds to find the ripe ones if the canes grow naturally (i.e. a bit floppy).

    Any type of net needs to be kept pulled tight to stop birds getting caught up in it.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,794
    We can buy hollow plastic "canes" to bend over and make an arc over which we stretch butterfly netting for brassicas and salads.  Doesn't stop the slimesters unfortunately but does protect from caterpillars.  I cut lengths of 5 or 6mm rusty rods form the builders' merchants into 30 cm lengths and poke half in the ground.  The canes then slot onto those and stay held in place.

    You can do the same thing with blue plastic water piping.  Cheap, long lasting and you can even make a wooden frame base so it's easy to lift up to get at the crops or move to a new site when planting new crops in a rotation.

    We will build a proper, walk in frame for fruits such as our pears, apricots and cherries as the birds get nearly all the fruit on the old trees.  That'll be made with rusty metal uprights and mesh sheets and then have netting stretched across to keep out birds but let in bees and other good guys.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Such brilliant suggestions. CDs, Wilko ( love wilko), water piping, rods, wood frames, scaffolding board....and that website is really useful. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,794
    edited February 2020
    How to do a wooden frame for a cloche or butterfly net -

    Or you could get one of Geoff Halton's books or videos and do it properly so it lasts.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,615
    If you want a quick and cheap way to hold netting up put the canes in the ground and then put old cans or bottles over the ends of them, if you have lots of terracotta pots that would work to. then just drape the netting over the canes and pin it down all round.
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