Many of our crops are subject to the attentions of various hungry creatures and without protection would not produce a good harvest. One answer is to wage war on the creatures that cause us problems and resort to a chemical spraying regime.
With many of us being reluctant to use a barrage of chemicals on our crops there is a need to try to prevent rather than cure the problem.
We use a variety of ways of protecting our fruit and vegetables.
Carrot fly can be a huge problem but for several years now we have grown carrots successfully by protecting them using a covering of fleece or enviromesh. Click here to read more. We find that the environmesh although more expensive does last longer. When we used fleece it was often ripped by the wind also whenever a neighbouring plot holder had a bonfire the sparks burnt holes in the fleece.
Fleece is still useful for using in a greenhouse where it can help protect against frost damage when the temperatures fall.
Brassica plants are subjected to attack by wood pigeons and by large and small white butterfly caterpillars. We cover our brassicas with netting as soon as we plant them out but remove the netting from brassicas that stay in the ground over winter. We found that if there is heavy snow the netting is weighted down onto the plants and can damage them The snow on the other hand will build up gradually on the plants and is less likely to damage them.
We cover our brassicas with a netting that gives some protection against butterflies as this is equally effective protection against wood pigeon attack.
We also cover our strawberry and redcurrants as both of these fruits are attractive to birds. Blackbirds will often make every effort to find a way into our redcurrant bushes. WE net both of these fruits with netting designed to protect against birds. Birds can become trapped in any loose netting especially at ground level so we use chicken wire around the base of our redcurrants bushes. If netting is taken down to ground level it needs to be tightly stretched and well tucked under heavy pieces of wood or bricks.
Brassicas also suffer from attack by whitefly. Although fleece or enviromesh may be effective against them we control them by spraying with a soft soap solution.