My veg growing was somewhat transformed when I discovered that the local garden centre sold mesh netting by the metre. It has saved so many plants from pest damage over the past few years. Here are a few things I love about it:
- It’s bird friendly. I once used that green netting with 2cm holes, and was horrified when I found a little sparrow tangled up in it. I cut the netting and he was free to fly off, but that was the last time I used it. Mesh netting is much more bird friendly – they sometimes find their way in and get stuck for a few minutes, but that’s the worst of it.
- I use it again and again. I do feel marginally bad because the netting has a high plastic content. However, I have re-used it for three or four years now. None has been chucked out yet, and that makes me happy. I suspect it will last another few seasons at least, and although it is a pain to wash if it becomes green and slimy with algae, it can be done relatively easily by soaking in a bucket of vinegar and then hosing down.
- It’s multi-purpose. I use it for several different pests:
- Carrot Root Fly – if I’m growing carrots, I just lay a strip of mesh netting over the top of the row and pin it down with heavy stones. So far, I’ve had very few problems with carrot root fly – it seems an effective method of control.
- Cabbage White Butterflies – for brassicas, I cannot recommend mesh netting enough. I’ve propped mine up with bamboo stakes topped with jam jars, and held down at the edges with stones/bricks. This has worked so well, and my brassicas don’t get decimated by caterpillars. It’s not completely butterfly proof, so I do a weekly check as well, for eggs/caterpillars, but I find it works really well.
- Pigeons – in the first year of growing brassicas, I was gutted that pigeons ate the entire crop in one morning. Never again. This netting is my saviour!
- It’s easy to water through it – this is true of most netting, I suppose, but I guess it’s better than using a poly cover in that respect, as you can just water straight through it (or let the rain do the watering).
- You can easily sew it into different lengths/widths – When holes appear, I’ve been able to sew them up or patch over the top, and I’ve been able to machine sew lengths/widths together to make the netting the right size for whichever bed I am covering. This is very useful to help use it from season to season on different beds etc.