Quick DIY for the garden – the net box

bulbs_under_cover
If you’re a bit of a handy man, handy girl or you’re living with one then I highly recommend having a go at making something Adam made for me a couple of years ago. The net box! It’s got so many uses all year round. I’ve got a couple of these in different sizes for different plants.

allotment_net_box

I often throw netting over my crops and stake it in place with canes but I find having ready made boxes really useful, for example, covering pots of bulbs that aren’t through yet to protect them from pesky squirrels. They’re also brilliant  for warming up sections of soil ready for planting and for protecting any newly planted crops. Later in the year I’ll use them to protect crops from birds and to provide toasty micro climates. I also find it puts cats off from using freshly raked beds and beds with small seedlings, as litter trays.

Garden centres do sell a range of netting, fleece and plastic cloches which are also useful around the garden and now is good time of year to get these things in place, warming up the soil for spring. I have a couple of those too but don’t find them quite as handy as these boxes. A colleague was telling me about his neighbour who’s made a massive version that covers a much bigger area (around the size of two of my biggest raised beds) and it’s head height so he can get inside! Now that’s some serious veggie protection!

squirel_in_the_garden

Adam made the boxes by screwing together 12 lengths of 2×1 batons and he stapled on the netting with a staple gun. Other allotment folk make some brilliant curved ones by using plumbing piping. One important tip, don’t double the netting up and create any gaps, bees can easily get trapped in between so it’s best to just use one layer. Adam used scaffolding netting which is available in 2m wide lengths, most garden centres sell something similar.

Do you have any net-boxes or cloches? What kind of things do you make for your garden?

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46 Responses to “Quick DIY for the garden – the net box”

  1. Cathy February 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Yes Anna, it’s good to be part of a practical household – we have made something similar, using unwanted pallets wherever possible.

    • Anna B February 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      Hello Cathy! Yes, we have a stash of reclaimed wood and pallets too and it is nice to make things for the garden as well as buying things isn’t it! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  2. djdfr February 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    We use netting to keep the berries for ourselves, putting it up and taking it down each season.

    • Anna B February 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      I remember one year I was just sitting in my garden, day dreaming about who knows what and then I tuned in to hear some bird noises, they were chirping and rustling and I thought it was lovely….then I snapped out of my day dream and realised that the noise was them eating all my raspberries!!! It was so funny :) Thanks for dropping by!

      • djdfr February 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

        We said tomorrow the red currants will be ripe but the next day there was not one left on what had been a heavily laden bush the day before.

        • Anna B February 8, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

          I just think to myself ‘it’s good to share’ when things like that happen, then I make sure I cover them up next time ;)

  3. gardeninacity February 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    A very clever bit of work!

    • Anna B February 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      I’ll tell Adam, I’m sure he will feel very happy with himself! Thanks so much for dropping by : )

  4. stevemoulson February 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    I need to make a large box area instead of covering up a small section at a time,I use trampoline pipes and netting but have to raise it once the veg gets bigger. I do get my netting online and it’s quite cheap,think I will need a little more this year.

    • Anna B February 8, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      HI Steve! Trampoline pipes sounds interesting. Yes, some of my crops grow too high for the boxes but they are so handy. I’m sure you could make all sorts for your allotment out of your pallet stash!

  5. Christina February 8, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    These boxes look great, they look strong enough to withstand the strong winds we have here; I’ll have to show this to the under gardener! Christina

    • Anna B February 8, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

      Haha! Yes they have survived some strong winds but we sometimes anchor down with a rock or two just in case. They have another 5 or so inches of wood sticking out under the bottom of where the net starts (4 legs if you like) to keep them firmly in the soil. Thanks so much for visiting :)

  6. Sue@GLAllotments February 9, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    We use a similar enviromesh construction over our carrots but having long beds we make them up as we need them. Also this way I can just lift an edge to weed so I don’t have to completely uncover the carrots.

    We use the same idea for netting protection. The framework is similar to yours (but taken apart for storage) but we drape the covering over, tie it in place and peg down the edges.

    • Anna B February 9, 2013 at 9:33 am #

      Hiya Sue! Sounds like you have some advanced models! It’s so useful to have something you can keep using or re-creating as in your case. Thanks so much for your comment :)

      • Sue@GLAllotments February 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

        Hardly advanced Anna more make do and mend.

        • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

          Haha! I like a bit of make do and mend too :)

  7. Janet/Plantaliscious February 9, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    That made me laugh, I have the timber and the netting, just have to get around to making them! I saw someone else last year with them and thought they made so much sense, though I have realised since moving here that I need to make mine with legs that will dig into the ground, it is so windy I found my cold frame over the other side of the garden the other day!

    • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

      Oh no! We’ve had a few things blow around in the garden too and so I’d definitely recommend making them with legs and a good heavy rock or two on top if strong winds are forecast. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  8. Mandy & Kaz February 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    what a lovely blog Anna :-) and I love the net boxes – we’re going to make some now we’ve seen yours! Mandy x

    • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      Hello Mandy! I hope you have fun making the net boxes and find them as useful as I do. Thanks so much for visiting and for your lovely comment :) x

  9. Jo February 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    They look great. I’ve been after Hubby making me something similar for a while, I’ll have to get on to him again before the onset of this gardening year.

    • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

      It’s good to have a handy hubby but they do sometimes need reminding don’t they ;) Hope you find it useful if you do get chance to build one. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  10. samsallotment February 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    I like your net cages, they would be great for smaller brassica’s. I have got hold of some old angle iron posts this year to make a stronger support for a tall brassica cage. Last year’s effort, made from canes with bottles on the end looked bad and performed even worse. I like the fact that the angle irons have multiple holes in which you can thread wire through at your chosen height, thus forming a stable ‘cage’ to throw your enviromesh over. Fingers crossed that it will work as planned.

    • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      Hello there! Your angle iron posts sound really interesting especially if you can choose your height as you can cover the plants from tiny to tall. Really interested to see how you get on. Keep us posted!! Thanks for dropping by :)

  11. Kim February 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Great idea :-)
    now added this the the list of little jobs for hubbs to do :-)

    • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

      Hello Kim! Hope that hubbs responds accordingly ;) Thanks so much for visiting and for your comment :)

  12. The Garden Smallholder February 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    Very good idea! I have made similar in the past but with left over weldmesh rather than netting, very handy for covering seed beds or freshly dug areas to protect from cats etc.

    I have left a couple of blog awards for you over at my blog. Don’t worry too much if you don’t wish to play along with the rules of these things.

    • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      Hello there! Aw, that is so kind of you :) I will go and check them out now. I’m looking forward to seeing how your move has gone too. Hope all is good! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  13. PJ February 10, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    What a great idea – I simply draped netting over some bamboo last year but in some areas the netting sagged allowing the butterflies to lay their eggs still! I like the thought of just lifting the cage off.

    • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

      Hello PJ Girl! Yes, I find that with draped netting too and sometimes end up in a tangle. I’ve really found these boxes useful. Thanks so much for visiting! :)

  14. thesneakymagpie February 10, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    We are just starting to make beds and a net cover would be perfect now that we know the size. I usually use bamboo cloches for pots and lettuce, they look so pretty! Love your net boxes, might get hubby to make me few. I guess tall ones would be perfect to protect berries.

    • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

      Hello there sneakymagpie! Yes, I must say that these boxes don’t look overly pretty and I’ve seen much nicer. I bet your bamboo cloches for your pots and lettuce look lovely. The net boxes are very useful though so I hope if you do make some that they work out for you as well as they have for me. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  15. Mark Willis February 10, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    Hmmm, yes, I need some of those. What’s stopping me? Only inertia!

    • Anna B February 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      Hahaa!! Nice one Mark :) Takes about an hour to make, if that, but about a year to think about making it ;)

  16. wellywoman February 11, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    I need to come up with something to protect my blueberries and tayberry which were attacked by birds last year. I think Wellyman may well be busy this spring. ;)

    • Anna B February 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      I like to share my berries with the birds….but not all of them! I think the net boxes could be really useful for small fruit bushes.

  17. Ricki Grady February 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    These are brilliant! I’m going to get the Handy Hubby involved right away. We do some winter protection with pvc pipe and plastic, but rigid, reusable boxes are a big step up.

    • Anna B February 11, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

      Hello Ricki! Yes, the other allotment dudes use the pvc pipe to create reusable net cloches. I shall grab a photo of them when they start putting them out again this year, you might like the look of those too! Hope the handy hubby feels inspired! :)

  18. Anna February 12, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Now they look brilliant Anna – will be showing this post to himself and maybe a production line will soon be up and running. Could particularly do with something like that to thwart the squirrels. At the moment all my pots of bulbs are protected by chicken wire but a box that would cover the lot would save a lot of time :)

    • Anna B February 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

      Hello Anna! I find them really useful to throw over pretty much anything! Hope ‘himself’ agrees to the production line!! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  19. Nadezda February 14, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    Anna, sorry for my late commenting!
    I love this idea of using a net. I have two beds of strawberry and need a net against birds.

    • Anna B February 16, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

      Hello Nadezda! I think a box over strawberries would work really well to protect them against birds. Thanks so much for visiting :)

  20. kh July 19, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    Seems a simple solution for weeding and picking the produce (tomatoes, beans, lettuce, etc) would be to make a separate top that is on hinges.

    • Anna B July 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

      Great idea! Thank you for your comment :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    [...] also noticed a huge net box! Plus, one that is still covering carrots from last year and I spied some seedlings in a greenhouse [...]

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    [...] in big tubs until I felt the weather was a bit more stable. I’ve covered them with a net-box and sprinkled coffee grounds around them. One of my favourite local Cafes – The Cheerful [...]

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