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Treacodactyl

Fruit cages

Does anyone have a good sized fruit cage? If so what is it made from, what type of netting does it use and what would you do differently?

We'd like to grow more soft fruit but there's too much wildlife (birds, foxes, Labradors) to get a good harvest without netting. So, if we were to plan a large fruit patch, say 10m x 5m, a good fruit cage may be worth the investment.

One idea, which is obvious now I've seen them, is a polytunnel frame with netting rather than polythene. Expensive but easy to get hold of and mend and available in plenty of good sizes.

I'm considering growing anything from cherries to strawberries, so low sides would not necessarily be a problem.
Nick

We had a huge one where we used to live. Steel plumbing pipe and chicken wire. Worked brilliantly. Probably expensive, tho.
mal55

I use a frame made of long canes gaffer taped together and covered in pond netting. It lasts a couple of years before I have to re-join it and is cheap, quick and effective
Tavascarow

The netting can be bought at a reasonable price in the quantity you require.
I can recommend Lows of Dundee.
I wouldn't bother with a frame, commercial orchards just use treated wooden posts with tyre rubber on the tops to stop the net from rubbing.
yummersetter

We had the polytunnel frame with netting combination, but if the net wasn't very taut the birds got their feet tangled in the netting, and if it was stretched tight, it went into holes when they did kamikazi dives at it.
Eventually the cherry trees burst through the top, so we ripped the whole lot off.
Mistress Rose

My parents had one years ago. The frame was treated soft wood and think the net was some sort of plastic. Dad had rasberries, gooseberries and currents in it.

Remember if you use soft wood that the bottom will need extra treatment, as the standard is not as good now as it used to be.
gregotyn

I saw one made of steel electrical ducting-tube. It is good as it bends easily by hand with 2 people I was told, but not at right angles, in a curve. They put in wooden posts and used the tubing to form the top and bottom and put the netting over that on the sides and 'teed' in the tube cross pieces, quite a bit of work. I'd do it in wood, 3"x2" and brace the corners. The best tip I can give you is to make it so that you can stand up in it-walking inside a 5ft cage when you are 6ft is no joke!
tahir

We had the polytunnel frame with netting combination, but if the net wasn't very taut the birds got their feet tangled in the netting, and if it was stretched tight, it went into holes when they did kamikazi dives at it.
Eventually the cherry trees burst through the top, so we ripped the whole lot off.


Yeah, it's a bit tricky to say the least, I've rescued rabbits and birds from our cherry net.

I think we'll probably end up with something that's got permanent deer/badger/rabbit protection at the bottom with possibly a polytunnel frame (we have lots of spare poly tunnel stuff) for our soft fruit
wellington womble

I lust after the ones in Harrod Horticultural. They seem expensive to me, but me, but I've never compared them to anywhere else.
Treacodactyl

I would either have large chicken wire or solid boards around the base as I've had to untangle a, thankfully, very alive grass snake from netting. That should hopefully help with other assorted critters.

I had hoped a good quality frame and netting would help reduce the risk of birds trying to get in. We get loads of jays round here and they're cunning and have a very nippy beak.

I have noted the use of hawk silhouettes on long flexible poles, used to scare off birds. I'm tempted to use something like them to scare them away from the netting.

The pole and tyre rubber sounds interesting, I'll give that a go this year and see how I get on.
Jam Lady

Blueberry cage

http://www.bellewood-gardens.com/2013/Nagy%20-%20Blueberries_2013-07.html
Jamanda

The model owls we used at work to scare off the seagulls worked for a few weeks, Now they just perch on them. Maybe if they were moved around a bit it would be better.
Falstaff

They do say that a few feral cats hanging on strings from canes, in the proximity - keeps most birds away .
Mistress Rose

If you use rabbit mesh at the bottom, turn it outwards for at least 6" and bury under the top layer of earth. Rabbits and badgers, and at least initially, foxes, will scrable close to the wire to try to get in. I would say taut mesh was better than boards as they can easily dig under them.
gardening-girl

Our original fruit cage was made from the frame from a very large tent, and a stack net from Mole Vally Farmers.
gregotyn

Somewhere on here there is in "recycling", how to make plastic bottle into an owl shape, which moves when placed on a stick basically you paint an owl on a 2-3 litre bottle upside down, cut 2 pieces at each side of the sides of the owl to make flaps, about 2-3" square-cut three sides obviously-(if you cut 4 sides you have a hole not a flap, oops)-which stick out and then the owl turns in the wind causing others to fly away. It works, I made one!
Bebo

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-3m-x-6m-White-Waterproof-Outdoor-Garden-Gazebo-Party-Tent-Marquee-Canopy-/120993129492?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item1c2bc0a414

These often turn up cheaply on ebay. We have two of them side by side covered in netting over the raspberry bed. They've lasted 5 years so far and look like they've got a few years left.
tahir

Wotcha lady, how do?
Bebo

Wotcha lady, how do?


Plodding along. You?
tahir

Looking forward to jacking work in. I will be out of the fashion trade by 2016, can't wait Smile (mind you, no idea what I'll be doing next) Bebo

I'm supposed to be taking it easy on a three day week. Since starting my new job at the beginning of last year I'm doing at least 4 (long) days a week and lots of 5 days. Hey-ho at least the overtime pays for my expensive hobbies. tahir

My sis in law works harder part time than she used to full time. Seems to be the way it is nowadays VM

I lust after the ones in Harrod Horticultural. They seem expensive to me, but me, but I've never compared them to anywhere else.

Yes, I too have lusted after these, but then we bought one as a quick fix chicken run and it drove partner mad putting it up, has one pole bent by weather now and generally seems a bit flimsy for the price. Thought we would use it for fruit once done something else for chickens, but suspect we are going to build a fruit cage and give the Harrods one away or sell it, so disenchanted are we with it. It was the cheaper, aluminium version - perhaps steel ones better.
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