Growing from seed is exciting and rewarding, but care must be taken to protect young seedlings while they are small and vulnerable. It can be extremely frustrating to watch your seeds germinate and begin to grow, only to have birds come along when you are not looking and pluck them out of the ground one by one. In our trial garden we are big fans of bird netting and use it extensively as a simple and effective way to protect seedlings from bird predation. In this blog post,Trial Garden Manager Lindsay Del Carlo shows you how to do it.
Our trial garden consists of raised beds that are 4 feet wide and anywhere from 16 to 60 feet long. We use ¾ inch black irrigation tubing made of soft polyethylene, commonly called “poly tubing”, cut to 6 foot long pieces to make structures to support the bird netting. Depending on the width of your bed, the tubing pieces should be at least 2 feet longer than the bed is wide so that the structure makes a tall arch over the top of the bed, but not be so long that they collapse in the middle. If you have a bed that is very wide, you may have to make several narrow sections of bird netting structures to cover the entire bed.
|Polly tubing cut to 6 ft. lenths|
|The ends of bird netting structure are crisscrossed poly tubing|
|Place single sections of tubing 3-4 ft. apart|
|Landscape staples 4-6 in. long. Garden, hardware and building supply stores carry these inexpensive long staples to push into the ground and hold the netting taunt and flush to the ground|
|"Snap Clamps" are used to secure the bird netting to the poly tubing and to join 2 pieces of netting together. They can be found at snapclamps.com or at charleysgreenhouse.com|
|Stretch the netting from the secured end to the other end|
|Secure netting along the sides with landscape staples every 8-10 in|
The same irrigation tubing structure can also be used for supporting other kinds protective materials like shade cloth in very hot areas and row covers at the end of the season for frost protection.
|A finished bird netting structure|
|Young seedlings growing under bird netting|