Garden netting is the bane of my life. I love gardening, however I usually find myself at some point having a fight with the netting, so much so that I have done a lot of research and experimenting.
If you have seen my early posts you would have seen my emergency first netting put up – it wasn’t pretty. However in my defense it pretty much stayed up all winter in the most evil storms.
I used home made frames.
Spring arrives and I find myself back in the netting verse me fight – netting one, me one! So what makes for good netting?
Everyone on the allotment has different netting preferences. And in the tradition of allotment gardeners many people use and reuse things to get that all important protection. This keeps costs down, saves on waste and makes for some very creative solutions.
What Netting Criteria
- Size of holes
Hole Sizes of Your Net
Netting comes with different holes sizes! Here was me thinking in my naivety keep it small and keep EVERYTHING out – no that would be too simple.
So when you are looking for your netting you need to think about what you want to keep out and surprisingly what you want to let in!
Your smallest sizes will keep everything out (watch out for gaps or rips). This is used for things like brassicas where you don’t need to pollinate but you do need to protect from cabbage white butterflies and birds.
Then there is a size to keep out birds but let in the insects. These can be used for strawberries where you need bees to pollinate but you may want to protect from birds.
Cost of Your Net
The cost comes down to several factors and can relate to your overall style, type and choice of frame. You can get your netting locally from as cheap as £0.99 from your local 99 pence store or you can pay much more for it.
Before deciding on cost look at the other aspects mentioned and also the frames to see what in the longer term is the best method for you. To start out you might want something cheap to throw over the plants but later on may want something more permanent or you may be happy staying with something simple.
Is the Colour of Mesh Important?
The mesh comes in many different colours. Many are dark green or black. Mine came in the most luminous lime green you ever saw. Oh my it was embarrassing It stood out like a beacon above all the sombre blacks and normal garden greens. On the up side I could see my plot from just about anywhere int he allotment.
Why get Lime Green? What I didn’t realise when I got it was the colour was an advantage. (Feeling slightly less embarrassed now). The bright green didn’t mould in with the background so the birds could see it better so, one they were more likely to leave your crops alone and two they were less likely to fly into it getting tangled. So I was happy at being less likely at having to remove a maggoty dead bird and happy that I was less likely to cause harm.
Why are Green and Black Popular? So why then are colours like dark green and black so popular? Green is traditional and looks less prominent than brighter colours. Black while not always is often when people have bought pond netting rather than normal garden netting.
If you do get green or black just ass something shiny like an old CD to show that it is there and put off the birds.
Avoiding Tangles and Tears
If it can get caught in something it will. Oh yes, from getting tangled in itself to getting caught in bamboo or catching on the ties that hold it. It will seek it out and find it.
So just how do you prevent it? Or at least limit it?
As I said there are as many ways to net as there are allotment owners. It seems to boil down to a few things:
- The type of netting you get
- How you handle it
- The frame & putting it together
You can get the normal garden netting which comes in different sizes and strengths. My net seems to have tiny “hooks” all over it which catch in itself. Garden net does tend to rip very easily.
This is why some people use the net for ponds. This is much stronger than the normal kind. Other still get really fed up with it and create elaborate frames with metal “net” like chicken wire.
Handling your netting takes care. If you are covering a large area it may save you time and effort if you have two people do it. Try if you can not to cover things while it is windy as this just makes life really hard. Be patent and watch for catches, untangle with care to save it. If it does rip you can always join it back together with tags or something.
It is also important to think about what frames you want and how you are going to use them. I will be covering frames in another post as they need a whole page to themselves.