Do you grow soft fruit or leafy veg in your garden or allotment? If the answer is yes, chances are you know the pain of trying to protect it from hungry wildlife!
Since getting our allotment three years ago, we’ve tried to grow lettuces, cabbages and broccoli in our raised beds. Every year, the local pigeons have a good old feast before the plants get really established; we’ve tried using netting, but we’ve never managed to get the supports quite right, which means the birds can still reach those tasty leaves. I really don’t mind sharing some of our crops with the local wildlife, but so far they’ve scoffed the lot!
I’d love to get the plant protection right this year, and Qwerkity have sent me their Grow Cage to try out. It’s a tunnel-shaped, netted cage, designed to protect your plants while still allowing easy access.
The Grow Cage is supplied flat-packed, and takes a few minutes to assemble. All you do is follow the instructions to build the frame using the tubes and connectors, then attach the netting with plastic clips. Once you’ve put it in position, you can anchor it to the ground with the galvanised steel ground pegs supplied.
Once assembled, the Grow Cage feels really sturdy and solid. The tubes are made from powder coated steel, and the plastic joints are nice and tough. That said, it’s still lightweight enough to move around easily when you need to get at your plants.
The netting is really good quality, and not at all flimsy. It’s the 10mm variety, which is ideal for keeping birds off your plants; it’s not designed to keep butterflies and insects out though, so if that’s your goal you will need finer netting. It does take a bit of adjusting to get the netting attached evenly, as with any netted cage; I think it’s worth taking the time to get it right though, rather than fiddling with it later!
The Grow Cage measures 200cm long, 100cm wide and 60cm tall at it’s highest point. This is perfect for our smallish raised bed, and gives us plenty of room to grow crops. Looks-wise, it’s first and foremost a functional product, but the plain black frame is really unobtrusive and it blends nicely into the background in the garden.
Now obviously, with any type of plant protection you need to be able to access the plants easily, whether that’s to feed, thin, weed or harvest them. The Grow Cage is lightweight enough to be lifted off completely, but I think I’m going to prefer lifting up one long side in a hinge action, and propping it open with a strong stick. It would actually be great if there was an extra pole included for this task.
I always try to put this type of gardening equipment away when not in use, to help reduce wear and tear from the elements. The Grow Cage will be quite easy to take apart, and once it’s in pieces it won’t take up lots of storage space. This is a real bonus, as I never have enough room in the shed!
I think the Grow Cage is going to make a real difference to the amount of crops we can harvest in our raised bed this year. If you grow your own on a fairly small scale, it’s a great no-fuss option for plant protection.
The Grow Cage costs £44.99 and is part of the Qwerkity gardening tools range. There’s a really wide selection of tools and accessories, if you’re planning some new garden projects or just seasonal maintenance it’s well worth a look.
How do you protect your plants from wildlife and pests?
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Qwerkity supplied the Grow Cage for review purposes. All opinions and comments are honest and genuine.