I went to my mum’s friends house last week. She grows a lot of fruits and veggies and she taught us how to protect her new seedlings from Cabbage Moth caterpillars and any other greedy aerial pest wanting to forage and reproduce on your precious crop.
I called this a hardware hack because each piece is not meant to be used for what we have used it for.
All you need is:
– Plastic Hosing – You want the very stiff variety. I’m not sure what it would otherwise be used for. We bought it in a 50m length.
– Bird netting.
– Bamboo Stakes cut to about 30 cm length is not already.
– Pegs for the netting.
– Time – It took 2 of us 15 mins to make each structure.
It’s really as simple as this:
1. Determine where you want the nets to go.
2. Measure the stiff plastic tubing to whatever radius you prefer over your plants, then add a bit extra as the extra length will be pressed into the soil for stability. Don’t make the hoops too big however, as it bends the plastic tubing out of shape.
3. In an area of about 1.2 metres wide, you will need 3 stiff tube hoops to make the basic structure for the net to go over. Any less and the whole thing bends out of shape. You can definitely put more hoops but they give you less flexibility when working on the actual garden bed.
4. Insert the bamboo stakes at the ends of where you want the hoops to be. They will prevent lateral movement of the tubes. You will need 2 bamboo stakes for each hoop.
5. Thread the hoops over the bamboo stakes and press the hoops firmly into the soil.
6. repeat until all hoops are placed.
To adjust for any height discrepancies, simply press the ends of the hoops further into the soil or pull it out slightly if necessary). We made the centre hoop slightly taller to make it look nicer.
There you have it! That’s the basic structure done.
For the netting, carefully unravel it as how it came. With another person, or skillfully by yourself, Take the net and measure the side, top and other side of the structure. Using the above photo as a guide, we started from left to right.
Once you get the right length, cut it.
Now you need someone else to help you unravel the net like a bedsheet, each of you holding two corners, one with each hand on both sides of the net which has been cut. Then, slowly gather the corner inwards with each hand using your fingers and securing the gathered material under your thumbs until you get to the middle.
The reason for doing the above is that when the time comes for you to stretch the net over the tube structure, it will open evenly on both ends and there is no overlap of netting that you have to deal with later.
Then, tie a knot as close as possible to the frayed ends like in the picture below.
Finally, stretch the net over the tube structure. If you are doing this over a raised garden bed that is made from wood, you can just stretch the net past the top of the garden bed and and a few centimetres down the side. It will be held in place not only by the tension of the net, but also by the rough surface of the wood. I’m not sure if this will work the same with a raised corrugated iron garden bed though and it is smooth.
If done properly, both knots should line up in the centre of the hoop radius and fan out nicely.
We did the same for another built-in raised garden bed. This time however, we couldn’t stretch the net over the sides so we anchored the sides with bird net pegs, made especially for this purpose. See the green pegs in the soil below?
We used 4 hoops as this area was wider. 3 hoops didn’t work here as the whole thing sagged in between the hoops.
And there you have it. Inexpensive aerial pest protection. It also stops the birds digging up the soil and mulch (that we will put on later).