Some plants will really benefit from being grown under an insect-proof mesh netting like this one pictured. It is cheap and easy, and well worth doing so that you can enjoy your veggies!
Insect-proof mesh netting like the one pictured here is readily available from most garden centres, and is often sold by the metre. There are some branded options, many gardeners swear by Enviromesh or VeggieMesh, but you can happily choose a non-branded equivalent.
It’s a really effective way of protecting many crops from common pests, particularly these ones:
- Pigeons (brassicas)
- Cabbage White butterflies/caterpillars (brassicas)
- Flea Beetle (mustard leaves, wild rocket, mizuna, brassicas)
- Birds (strawberries)
- Carrot Fly (carrot, parsnip)
- Cabbage Root Fly (brassicas)
- Leek Moth (leeks)
You won’t manage to keep your crops 100% protected, but you will be able to keep the number down somewhat.
For crops that grow low to the ground, like carrots/parsnips/strawberries, you can simply lay the netting over the top of the row and secure at the sides and corners with stones etc. (For strawberries, do not cover until fruits start to form and ripen as you need the pollinators to be able to reach the flowers!)
For taller crops, like brassicas and leeks, you can either make a hoop tunnel with bamboo stakes and old hosepipe (see related post below) or just prop up the netting with 1-2m tall bamboo stakes topped with jam jars or similar as pictured here. Again, be sure to secure down well at the sides and corners.
Looked after well, this netting will last for many years, and you can easily patch up any holes by stitching on a square of netting either by hand or by sewing machine. It should last a long time, and is unlikely to fray etc.