One of the most invaluable tools in my garden is bird netting. I bought this large roll of bird netting a few years ago to protect my young magnolia from the Brood X Cicada that invades my area only every 17 years.
A quick tangent... The Brood X Cicada was horrendous! For a period of several weeks, the cicadas were everywhere. If you're not a bug lover, all you need to know is this - they are large, loud, and horrible. There were soooooo many everywhere that I would hesitate before walking out because inevitably, several would drop upon opening the front door. Before going out to my car, I would seal the neckline of my shirt, seal my purse, cover my head, and then run so that they would not land on me. They are slow fliers, like to dive right at you, and like to land on you. At one point, it was impossible to walk outdoors without having a cicada land on you. Click here , scroll down and play the video to hear what I heard constantly for weeks. It was deafening outdoors. Towards the end of the season, the cicadas were beginning to die and could be found EVERYWHERE. Along the street curbs were pulsating mounds and mounds of dead and dying cicadas. Once, I was driving (with a pile of dead cicadas collected under the windshield/hood area) and a headless cicada began crawling up my windshield. It would not blow away and I resisted the urge to turn on my windshield wiper (cause we know what happens when we try to windshield wipe bugs - it's not pretty). But I digress...
Stores were out of bug netting so I purchased a large roll of bird netting and wrapped my tree two or three times. When cicada season was thankfully over, I began to find many uses for this netting:
- In the photo above, my sweet potatoes were drying outside. To protect them from my thieving backyard enemies (squirrels, raccoons, who knows what else), I brought them to the front yard and protected them with netting. One time I watched someone on a walk steal my Sunday paper right from my driveway. Over my sweet potatoes, the netting would also serve as a "this is not yours to take" message.
- The netting successfully protected my butternut squash all season. See my squash here.
- This is an obvious choice for protecting berries from birds. My new strawberry patch was protected this spring with a layer of this netting while berries were forming. I use this with some fantastic stakes I may show you in a later post.
- I use this netting in the garden after sowing any kind of seed (like lettuce, carrots, etc.) to prevent my cat from using it as a litter box - this is the most frequent reason for using the netting in my garden. After the seedlings begin to grow, I'll remove the netting. At this point, my cat will not dig around, and the garden will have been protected.
- For fall bulb planting, I will often lay this netting down to prevent squirrels from digging up what I've just planted.
- After patching up some bald spots in my backyard, I used some stakes and the netting as a simple temporary fence so no one would trample the area.
This bird netting goes way beyond its intended purpose in my garden. It will probably last forever and I have many pieces cut to size for a variety of uses. Perhaps it will be of use to you as well!