You can build a custom netting support out of copper pipe and fittings. Other than a hacksaw, no tools are needed.Photo/Illustration: Ruth Dobsevage
The Gates by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Central Park, New York City, 2005
Photo by DirkZ under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Without a netting, your resident birds and chipmunks may get the lion's share of the strawberry harvest. With one, you'll enjoy the tasty fruit.Photo/Illustration: Ruth Dobsevage
Photo/Illustration: Ruth Dobsevage
My little strawberry patch produces a modicum of berries in June, but we’d lose them all to the birds and the chipmunks without a netting. I used to throw a netting over the plants, but they would become entangled with it, and picking was awkward. Next, I lashed together a framework of uprights and crosspieces out of pruning offcuts, but the netting snagged on the supports. And the twigs would rot or break in a year or two.
|The old lashed twig support (above) was rickety, snaggy, and had to be shored up every spring. Its replacement (below) has weathered to blend in.|
Now I have as sturdy and weatherproof support system for my strawberry netting. It shares the general appearance of The Gates, but none of its grandeur or expense.
This netting support was cobbled together from several 5-ft. lengths of 1/2-in. dia. copper pipe and a package of 90° elbow fittings, purchased at the local big-box store several years ago. Type M is the lightest and cheapest copper pipe, and it’s fine for this application. Nowadays, the same store sells 1/2-in. Type M in 10-ft. lengths, so it’s a little less convenient to transport unless you have a large vehicle.
With a hacksaw, I cut some of the pipes in half to form two uprights. A full-length pipe length more or less matched the width of the bed, so no cutting was needed. Assembly was simple and required no solder or adhesive. Installation? Just stick the assemblies in the ground a few feet apart, and drape the netting over. Now, picking the fruit is easy. Birds and chipmunks, eat your hearts out.
One of the advantages of this type of support is that it can accommodate beds that not perfectly rectangular (and none of mine are). You can just shift the assemblies to get the coverage you need.
I take down the netting in July. The frames could be dismantled, too, but it’s easier to leave them in place. Over the years, the copper has weathered to an unobtrusive dark hue. When snow covers the garden, it’s a nice reminder that a fruitful spring is on the horizon.
|More trellises to build:
• Freestanding Tomato Trellis
• Lashed Garden Trellises
• Copper Pipe Trellis
• Rustic Trellis
• Ultimate Tomato Trellis
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