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Gardening Advice & Tips for Irish Gardeners

The Weekend Gardener (Part 12)

This weekend I had given myself a task of building a support frame for my raised beds. I needed a support frame to hold and support garden netting over my raised beds – protecting my crops beneath.

Garden netting provides the best control against garden pests as it is fully organic and very effective at keeping the pest away for crops. The result is that pests cannot eat or damage crops and pests cannot lay eggs in or around your crops.

Weekend Gardener

Garden netting comes in a range of size and lengths and each type serves a different purpose. The finest of mesh with spacing of approx. 1.35mm will keep out the smallest of insects and is therefore used to control insects such as carrot fly, aphids and the cabbage root fly. This mesh is only effective if it can be kept up off your crops and this is why I built a support frame.

The next size of netting would be the more standard garden netting and this has a spacing of between 15 and 20mm and would be used to keep butterflies and birds off your crops. Birds can be a big pest of strawberries while pigeons will attack cabbages.

Constructing the support frame was quick and easy. I used bamboo canes as the support bars and these were joined together using Figo Bamboo Arm Grips. These handy inventions allow you to create a whole range of support frame shapes and climbing supports.

If you want to build your own netting support frame you will need the following

  • At least 12 bamboo canes (no more than 60cm in length)
  • 6 Figo bamboo Arm connectors
  • A loppers or saw to trim the canes
  • Garden netting  (hole spacing to suit your crops)
  • Pegs or pins to hold the netting in place

If you don’t have Figo bamboo arms you can also use cane mates as these do pretty much the same job. With my stock pile of bamboo canes and arm grips I was able to create almost any shape of frame. From intricate wigwam designs to engineered geodesic domes. But on this weekend task I was happy with a simple rectangular box support frame.

The frame took 20 minutes to construct and once built was about 40cm in height and fitting neatly over my 150 x 90cm raised bed. The netting was to bit too big, but too big is better than too small when it comes to pest barriers. And with the pegs holding the netting in place my vegetables are now fully enclosed and protected from pest attacks.

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