It’s been a busy few weeks in my back yard kitchen garden – mostly involving filling and emptying watering cans on a seemingly endless loop – and one of the jobs that Jo and I tackled recently was the construction of a cane-and-netting fruit cage to help keep the birds off the raspberries and strawberries in raised bed #1.
First the bamboo cane construction. Eight-footers for height, driven as deep into the raised bed as they’ll go. Then an assortment of eight-, six- and four-footers to form the skeleton of the frame, with plenty of diagonals for stability. I used green plastic plant ties to fix them together rather than string because they’re much quicker to fasten and they make the frame easier to dismantle at the end of the season. Finally, the netting, which of course is the fiddliest part of the whole process as you have to lift it over the canes and of course it keeps catching on cane-ends, plastic ties, splinters, the frames of your glasses… you name it.
In that final shot you might just be able to make out the ingenious methods we use for keeping the netting taut on the frame: bricks on the corners where the netting tends to bunch and gather, and a series of weatherproof screws around the outside-top of the timber frame, which the netting can be looped over, hook-style. One of Jo’s brilliant ideas, of course.
The finished construction is well worth the effort though. Net result: bees and other pollinating insects in and out at will, thieving birds looking on with envy, Jo and I enjoying bowlfuls of luscious soft fruit in the fullness of time, all being well.