Author Topic: Bewildered by nets  (Read 42581 times)


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Bewildered by nets
« on: April 04, 2024, 08:28:54 »
Sorry to be a total clueless newbie, but could someone give me an idiots guide to protecting my produce with nets.

At the allotments I see chickenwire, nylon nets of different hole sizes, nets as tunnels, nets made into cages. All sorts. Most raised off the ground, but some basically sat on the ground?

What cheap and simple netting strategy might I use to protect peas, carrots, onions, raspberries and maybe strawberries?
If I make tunnels, say over my peas, how high do I make them? do I have to keep increasing the height as they grow, or do I build them 3' tall to start with? 

Recommended cheap products? Hole size? Cages or tunnels? Fixing?

Oh, and we've been issued a mandate not to make nets that trap birds.

To weed under my nets, is there a simple strategy for lifting them out of the way each time with minimum faff.?

Tee Gee

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Re: Bewildered by nets
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2024, 13:11:13 »
Hi Harry

Yes they can be a bit of a pain, but sadly we have to do what we can with what we economically as we can hence your comment;At the allotments I see chicken wire, nylon nets of different hole sizes, nets as tunnels, nets made into cages.

My self I used Hoop iron simply because at the time I worked at a place where I could get it relatively cheap. I found it malleable enough to bend to what ever width bed I was covering.

So as I recall when I purchased it, I needed to know my bed widths and the height I wanted my net tunnels.

As you can see in pic 1 my beds were regular in size i.e. between 5&6ft width and I thought I would need the tunnels to be around 2ft high and that I would have to push the vertical sides around 1 ft into the soil so that meant 1'-2'-6'-2'-1' = 12 ft long.

I recall, standard lengths were 3 metres, so I plumped for those. As it happened they worked quite well with most stuff, but Sprouts could be a bit of a pain because of their potential heights, but I found that when they got to that height the pigeons left them alone, the leaves might have been too tough to eat, so I removed the nets.

In pic 2 you can see the hole size of the type of nets I used.

The remaining photos are the best examples I can find, as this was something I did not think to take photos of.

I have seen other people use 1" diameter water pipes which gave a similar result.

Incidently the initial cost might not have been as cheap as I would have liked, but they lasted me for the thirty years I had my plots and I left them when I gave up my allotments 3 years ago, so they might still be in use now.

So that is another thing to consider.

I hope that helps.

Edit; Forgot to mentioned I tied the net to the hoop iron with twist ties, and if the gap between the supports along the bed were rather long I would hold the net down with a brick/s
« Last Edit: April 04, 2024, 13:46:04 by Tee Gee »


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Re: Bewildered by nets
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2024, 13:15:51 »
Netting is used to keep off pests and the guage of the netting changes according to pest so chicken wire is fine against pigeons but you need a finer mesh to keep out insects whose larvae will scoff your crops.  In order to be safe for birds your netting needs to be stretched tight so they don't get their claws caught.

Geoff Hamilton, a former presenter on Gardeners' World made movable net cloches for his veg garden.   You need a square or rectangular base made from straight wood and attached using metal angles.  You then make holes in those at intervals on 2 opposite sides and glue or screw in dowels.  Then you use plastic piping for water or old hosepipe which you put over the dowels to make hoops.  the taller the dowel, the higher and more stable the hoops will be so you can grow low lettuces or tall brassicas according to need.

Then you stretch your netting over the hoops and fasten it tightly (staple gun) to the base on all sides.    In order to plant, hoe or harvest you either lift away the netted frame or simpy tip it up on one long side and hold it in place with a prop.
Obxx - Vendée France


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Re: Bewildered by nets
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2024, 19:08:45 »
I think we are all hoping that TG will provide a link to an authoritative article on his web site, but as Obelixx has started the ball rolling, I'll add my bit. Edit: I now see that he has already commented!

Get the best quality netting you can. We all first buy the cheap packets of pale green plastic netting that you see is hardware stores which is compressed and you have to pull apart. You need to put a peg in every foot or so round the edge to keep it in shape and it tears easily.

Get netting that is longer and wider than you have calculated that you need. You may want to increase the height of the structure later and you may have more ambitious plans next season! Or you may have misunderestimated (thanks, George W Bush) what you need.

For ease of access, you want either a rigid structure (think rabbit run, but no rabbits, of course) that you can lift off to one side or netting that you can unpeg on three sides and fold back (it's much easier to replace if you don't take it all off). With the netting over hoops you may well need lengthways supports to stop it sagging.

For some crops like strawberries (or gooseberries, though the net gets caught on the branches) you can just more or less throw a net over and keep it above ground if necessary with plant pots on canes. The birds will get the fruit they can reach but the ones further in are safe.

« Last Edit: April 04, 2024, 19:11:58 by Paulh »


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Re: Bewildered by nets
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2024, 19:26:29 »
Thanks folks.

I picked up 3 rolls of garden netting from The Middle of Lidl in their 3 for £4 promo. Cheapskate! That concludes my spending for the season :) 

Looks to have 1/2 inch holes. Since I suspect pigeons will be my initial enemy ( Peas & Beans ) I reckon I'll start with that stapled to something like metre cubes of pallet wood*. Ease of lifting off will be important for frequent marestail weeding.
In the interest of frugality, I'll see what I can scavenge or womble for finer mesh..... Thinking old net curtains.

For strawberries, I think maybe just bang in lots of 1 foot stakes and staple to those. Pull and replace for weeding in sections.

Am i on the right track? Acknowledge the lidl stuff might last five minutes.

In other news, I learned that cheapest isn't best when I lifted a tarp from my prepared bed and discovered that the weeds had still prospered in the blue light getting through :(

* pallet wood features heavily in my plans :) That and canes.


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Re: Bewildered by nets
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2024, 06:54:34 »
I think the cheapest netting to buy in any quantity is the stuff that is often quite a bright, green called either debris netting or scaffold netting. It’s used by builders to stop debris landing where it shouldn’t.

For strawberries I simply drape netting straight onto the bed and don’t find it needs a frame. I only do that as the fruit starts to ripen, as that’s when they become attractive to blackbirds etc.

Pigeons are definitely a nuisance with pea plants but I haven’t found them to be so with beans. They’re a nuisance when the plants are small and they can peck them from the ground, and then later when they can stand on any supports you’ve constructed for the peas. Then they strip the tops. For the later stages of shorter peas up to four feet,say, I simply drape netting over the tops of the plants and improvise ways of keeping it in place. Cheap clothes pegs are quite useful for that. 

Tiny Clanger

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Re: Bewildered by nets
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2024, 14:53:49 »
We use scaffolding net over most of the crops. We buy off ebay
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Re: Bewildered by nets
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2024, 16:45:10 »
I bought a roll of the green finely woven debris netting from Amazon, and cut it to fit over various sized beds and frames. I also use them as ‘curtains’ to drape around wigwams of beans, sweet peas and tomatoes as frost protection for a few weeks. Protecting crops from the very hot weather the other year was another use got them, plus greenhouse shading.
I’ve reused mine for about 10 years and fold  and store them at the end of the season. I mark them in all four corners in permanent marker with a letter indicating the size ( for example T for tomato drapes, B for beds, C for curtains ) so I don’t have to open them up to find the size I require. I still have some left on the roll!
If it's not pouring with rain, I'm either in the garden or at the lottie! Probably still there in the rain as well TBH....🥴


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