new to allotment growing

We have just got an allotment a few weeks ago, we have cleared most of it, but there remain a lot of fruit bushes so hubby made a large fruit cage we have closed in with the usual netting but so far have left the centre open..we need to ask when it's best to close the cage completely to the birds? we have I believe tay berries, gooseberries, we have added 3 blueberries, the other ones we are not sure what they are so are awaiting the fruiting of the stems to see...


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 44,427

    Bumping it up so the others can see this image

    In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt ... Margaret Atwood
  • scrogginscroggin Posts: 2,128

    If you are protecting the crop from birds you need to enclose the whole area and leave an entrance where you can get access but close afterwards.

  • vjwukvjwuk Posts: 27

    Yes close the top in, and we netted ours shut as the fruits were just forming, we have placed netting so that once the fruit has been picked we can roll it up and attach it to the top beams.  We used netting that barred the birds but not the bees etc for pollinating.

  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 432

    Yes keep the birds out but leave the netting so it can be rolled back in the winter to prevent snow damage and to allow the birds to get at any pests.

  • Armston39Armston39 Posts: 6

    Thanks everyone! at the moment only the centre is still open, making it so we can open it whilst we  are busy on the plot but close it when we are done and go home, flowers and fruit seem to be forming well though we notice today a black leaf on one of the leaves...any ideas what that could be and how to treat it?? all netting will be down from the top during winter for the snow, we thought of that one!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 44,427

    Be careful to pull the netting taut so that birds cannot get tangled in it - every year birds die because they are tangled in fruit netting.

    And if you're rolling it down in the winter be sure that it can't trap small mammals and hedgehogs. 


    In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt ... Margaret Atwood
  • Armston39Armston39 Posts: 6

    Thanks Dovefromabove all netting is taut..taking down the 'roof' during winter and will pull up pegs near the ground for free access to all small bird boxes up and insect boxes on poles...we have a friendly frog around though not sure where his water is at the moment...image think for first attempt at cage etc hubby done very well!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 44,427

    It's not access so much as a real danger of entanglement which can be such a problem for small mammals and birds - hedgehogs in particular can get their prickles entangled in netting and there they perish  - netting should be well up and off the ground all around in the winter.  

    Boards (like gravel boards) can be put around the outside bottom of a fruit cage and secured with wooden 'pegs' so that hedgehogs and birds don't get tangled in the bottom 12" or so of the fruit cage. 

    Give that hubby a pat on the back image

    In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt ... Margaret Atwood
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