Are my nets letting in enough light? Diary of a Rocket Gardener

All the gales and storms have been blowing my mesh netting around my veg patch for a few weeks now. I finally went to go and tidy it all up (in the hope that my brassicas might recover given a little protection against pigeons!) and have come to the conclusion that some of the older stuff I’ve been using is simply too thick with algae to let enough light in to the veggies.

It’s just a light coating, but I think it makes a difference and especially at this time of year when light levels are low anyway. I want to give my crops a better chance to grow well and recover from pigeon damage, but I don’t think these nets are up to the job.

So… I tried hosing them down. Nothing. I tried soaking them in a big bucket of water and swirling them around. Nothing. I tried adding a bit of soap to the water. Nothing. I haven’t managed to get them clean yet. I don’t want to chuck them out and buy new ones, for obvious reasons, I’d much rather wash them somehow. I’ve been googling, here are some ideas I have found…

  1. Using Algon Organic – this is a cleaner used for patios and decking. It says it is “non-toxic” and “pet-friendly and child-friendly.”  However, I can’t find out from their website what it actually IS, and this worries me. Does anybody know what Algon actually is?? What is in it?
  2. Washing it in the Machine – some people recommend bundling the netting into the washing machine, with detergent. There are mixed reviews on doing this… a significant proportion of people suggest that the netting doesn’t move inside the machine, so doesn’t get cleaned, whereas others say it works a treat. One recommendation was to put something else, like an old tea towel, in wash with the netting to encourage the netting to move around. It seems nice and easy, so I’ll probably make this my first port of call.
  3. Using Vinegar – I came across several suggestions to soak the netting in a bucket with a water and white vinegar mix. The downside of this seems to be that you need equal parts water to vinegar, so that is quite a large amount of vinegar. I’m going to see how the washing machine works first…

I’ll try to remember to report back on my findings once I’ve given my net cleaning a go, but thought I’d share these three ideas in the first instance in case they are useful suggestions for others with algae-covered nets! Would love to know if anyone has any other good solutions!!