Thursday, 15 September 2016

Flexi balls, iron rods and strawberries

The battle for posession of the strawberry crop was won by the birds again this year.  They are content to eat the fruit before it is ripe, so I never get a look in.  I had protected the plants with netting stretched across semi-circular hoops, but it didn't seem to keep them out.  Sterner measures are called for.

I saw these "flexi balls" promoted in a garden catalogue some time back, and bought a pack on the basis that they might come in useful, and constructing a bird-proof strawberry cage seems like a good thing to try.   I got some iron rods such as are used for reinforcing concrete, cut them to size and joined them with the flexi-balls.  The result is the framework you can see in the picture.

The metal rods are flexible, as are the flexi-balls (surprise) so the structure sways quite easily, but seems to stay reliably together.   I have enough plastic netting to stretch along its length, but I need to think a bit more about the sides.  I need to be able easily to lift the netting up to get at the strawberries, so I am thinking about individual panels that correspond in size to the positions of the metal frame pieces.   I could use chicken wire (expensive but relatively rigid) or plastic net, on some kind of wooden frame suspended from the horizontal metal rod.

The battle for the strawberry crop 2017 has started and the enemy isn't even aware yet.  Hehehe!  <= evil cackle.


James Higham said...

Masts to hold the netting up? Ridge poles?

Mark In Mayenne said...

I did think about a triangular tent affair running along the length of the bed, with a ridge pole. In the end I decided to try this method first. I hope it will combine versatility with ease of use. I can take it all apart easily, and if I need to protect plants from excessive rain as I should have done with my tomatoes and potatoes this year, I can just put a perspex sheet on the top. We shall see, I'm always up for trying something else if this doesn't work as I intend.

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