Our 100th blog post – keeping the sparrows away from our veggies

Yippee!!! This is our 100th blog post so join us in raising a wee glass and celebrating.

So apart from stressing over what to write about for this “special” blog post, what have we been doing? Well this weekend we’ve finally completed a job that’s been on our list for a little while. We’ve netted over the beds to protect them from birds.

Here at Ar Bruidair, we are lucky enough to have lots of local wildlife that visits us and makes our garden interesting. The most common being the sparrows and starlings. We have a huge amount of sparrows nesting in the trees around our house and even in the eves of the house and they are noisy little things I have to say.

This is lovely and we both enjoy watching them going about their daily routines, however one part of their routine is a bit on the annoying side. They nick stuff. It’s that time of year when the little birds are being born so for the last few weeks the local bird life have been stealing pieces of our reed fencing, coconut matting from our hanging baskets and various other bits and pieces to line their nests, meaning we’ve had soil and plants fall out of the hanging baskets and holes in our privacy fencing.

Recently though, they’ve added a new little habit to their routines, the now eat my salad and dig in my beds.

Now ok, I fully accept that we grow plenty enough salad for us and the sparrows, but it’s more the digging in the beds which is frustrating me as they are killing off the seedlings as they start to come up and my beetroot crop has been halved (they seem to have gone for all the same type of beetroot too).

So I figured that given that we are about to have strawberry plants setting fruit, it was time to stop putting things off and actually get around to netting things. You’d think after last years war with the cabbage moths we’d have done this already, but I confess, sometimes we get lazy.

So how have we done it?

For this I have to say a big thanks to Cecelia at work. She told me of a great solution she had used in her garden and it works great, is easy to set up and costs way less than buying the proper netting cages at the garden store. Get us sticking to our thrifty promise.

So you’ll need to pop to your DIY store, we went to B and Q and got everything we needed for less than £30.

things you need to make bird net cages

Ok you’ll need.

  • 1/2 inch pvc water pipe (B and Q do this for £20 for 15 meters)
  • Bird netting
  • Some string

We found that our secateurs cut the piping really easily, you could use a knife or something similar.

 

 

It’s up to you how tall you want the net cage to be, as we were only covering things like salad and carrots, we didn’t need it overly tall so we cut the piping lengths which were twice the width of our beds. For our beds, 3 per bed seems to be enough, but obviously if your beds are bigger you may need more. Then it’s as simple as pushing each end down into the soil as far as you can to form a hoop over the bed.

IMAG2321You can see it take shape as soon as you start to push the piping into the beds.

Once you have as many as you need, it’s time to add the netting. It’s easier to have two of you doing this as stretching the netting out over the frame is quite frustrating if you are on your own. Simple stretch it out and cut it to the size you need then either peg it down into the soil or attach it to the side of the beds if like me you have raised beds.

We used small nails along the beds which the net fits over and is held in place.

Remember, you will need to be able to get at the veggies to do all the chores like weeding, watering etc so don’t fix it down permanently on all sides. We’ve fixed it to the centre support using garden wire but kept the two ends fixed temporarily using the nails so that we can get into the beds when we need to.

Kate attaching the support piece

One other thing you can do, if you are worried that the structure may not hold up against your particularly strong birds of winds, you can fix a cross brace to help strengthen it. For this we just used another length of pipe and cross tied it to each support.

 

 

 

There you go, our finished bird proof beds.

 

IMAG2326

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