Last updated on November 9th, 2023 at 02:28 pm
Mesh covers are a valuable tool for protecting your vegetables in the garden. They provide a physical barrier that keeps pests, such as insects and birds, away from your plants while allowing sunlight, air, and water to pass through. Here’s how and when to use mesh covers to protect your vegetables:
How to Use Mesh Covers:
- Select the Right Mesh: Choose a mesh or netting material that is appropriate for the pests you’re trying to protect your vegetables from. For example, fine mesh (insect netting) is suitable for keeping out small insects like aphids, while larger mesh can deter birds.
- Prepare Your Garden: Ensure that your vegetable garden is well-prepared before using mesh covers. This includes properly planting and spacing your vegetables, watering them, and providing necessary support structures (stakes or cages).
- Measure and Cut: Measure the area you want to protect and cut the mesh cover to the appropriate size, allowing for some overlap on all sides. You can use scissors or garden shears for this.
- Secure the Cover: Place the mesh cover over your vegetables. Secure it in place using garden staples, rocks, bricks, or any other suitable materials. Ensure that the cover is well-anchored to prevent pests from accessing the plants.
- Create a Seal: To further prevent pests from getting underneath the mesh cover, create a seal around the edges. This can be done by burying the edges in the soil or using boards or bricks to hold it down.
When to Use Mesh Covers:
- Early Season Protection: Use mesh covers at the beginning of the growing season when young plants are most vulnerable to pests. This is especially important for plants like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, which can be targets for cabbage moths.
- During Pollination: Some vegetables need to be pollinated by insects. In this case, you should use mesh covers outside of the flowering period and remove them when the plants start to bloom to allow pollinators access to the flowers.
- When Pests Are Active: Timing is essential when using mesh covers. Install them when you notice signs of pest activity in your garden, such as holes in leaves or the presence of pests. Early intervention can prevent further damage.
- While Vegetables Ripen: Mesh covers are particularly useful when your vegetables are approaching maturity. They help protect your crop from birds, squirrels, and other animals that may be attracted to ripe produce.
- Continuous Use: In some cases, it may be beneficial to use mesh covers continuously throughout the growing season, especially if you have persistent pest problems or if you’re growing vegetables that are prone to damage.
Remember to regularly check your mesh covers for any damage or signs of pests trapped underneath. Make sure to water and care for your plants as needed while the covers are in place. With the right selection and timing, mesh covers can be an effective and organic method of protecting your vegetables from common garden pests.