Fruit Cage

Spurred on by our success with the runner beans and liking raspberries and blueberries in homemade yoghurt and ice cream we ventured into growing our own soft fruit.

Initially, I created an 8′ raised bed and planted a row of mixed raspberry canes, both summer and autumn varieties and three blueberry bushes, one early, one mid-season and one late. Unfortunately, I inadvertently created a bird and squirrel magnet and it soon became apparent that the bed needed netting to allow the bees and other pollinating insects in but to keep the wildlife out.

Based on the Bean Frame idea, I created another shorter pipe and fittings structure I could simply throw some netting over.

Render of the Fruit Cage, illustrating its structure without the greenery getting in the way…

Experience gained in the first year of use led to some modifications to the design, including the creation of mesh end panels to stiffen the frame and simplify the netting arrangement and additional horizontal pipes to which the raspberry canes could be tied as they grew.

The mesh end panels meant I only needed a piece of netting a little over 8′ wide which would cover the sides and the top of the frame tied to a couple of 15mm copper pipes filled with lead flashing offcuts and capped at both ends to act as weights to hold the netting down.

This worked really well until harvesting the fruit when it became obvious that I needed somewhere to put the pipes and hold the netting out of the way. The addition of the three battens across the top of the frame provided some additional support for the net and somewhere to put the “pipe weights” once the netting had been rolled up for access.

Later on, I made a second version of the frame without the horizontal pipework for a third raised bed having watched the birds feasting on our sweetcorn crop…

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