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Fruit cages - DIY options?

We have raspberries, blackcurrants and blackberries (we think!) growing at a rate of knots in a large patch measuring about 8x13 feet in our garden. We have been warned that birds are likely to eat the lot if we don't get them covered before they start to ripen. Looking at the ready-made fruit cages they all seem very expensive, especially for the size of plot we have. Can anyone give advice on making our own? Is it cheaper overall do you think? What sort of netting is best? And are canes, or metal poles better? Having looked online there seem to be so many options!




  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,055

    For the netting, you want insects to get through to pollinate the fruit but not birds so holes need to be about 20mm (=2cm, 3/4"), which will let bumble bees through.  As far as the supporting structure goes, it's all a matter of how long it will last.  Canes will be only be good for a couple of years or so before the section in the ground rots.  Making fruit cages can be tricky as you need to secure the netting to the frame and make a door or other way of entering but if you're good at DIY then you can certainly save some money.  You could use something like cheap PVC overflow pipe (about 50p per metre) for which you can buy various connectors (eg 90 degree bends, T-pieces) to form a frame and perhaps wire ties (or a hot glue gun?) to secure the netting to it.  Some folk use this stuff to make polytunnel frames, too.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks Bob, thats really useful. Great idea re the pvc pipes too! Looks like we are gonna be busy!

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,200

    We had one in our garden in Harrow.  The back was the rear fence and one side was the  fence between us and the neighbours.  we erected fence posts to make the 3rd and 4th sides and stapled black plastic netting along it and over it.  The roof sagged a bit after the first winter snowed on it so we put slats across to help support it but piping would be sturdier and less likely to snap in strong winds.  For access, we simply left the short side hooked on its corner post so we could undo the flap and get in to weed, feed, prune and pick.

    Ours was cheap, easy to make and worked a treat

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Yours sounds industrial strength obelixx! Good ideas though, it shows there are many ways to make a cage image


  • saltskisaltski Posts: 50

    I got a metal and net one from mainframe direct, they had a great service and didn't cost the earth, plus the metal looks like it will last years. Though the netting on all cages has to be removed/replaced eventually.

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    Just a word, what ever you decide on, once the fruit is gone remove the netting for the winter. My neighbour didn't at his allotment, and even with 2 cm netting, the heavy snowfall in one night built up and ripped his cages to bits!!! If you are planning on fruit for the longterm, getting a decent metal setup is the way, if you aren't so sure, using wooden posts and 2x1 inch batton is fine while you decide.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,116

    Bob-you always have such great advice on everything to do with fruit and veg image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Just wanted to say thanks for all the helpful ideas. Here is what we created last weekend. I am VERY proud of it! 



  • how much netting would I need to cover a 12 foot by 12 foot cage 2 meters high for the sides and top?

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,416

    48sq mtrs

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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