I use crop cages to protect my blueberries when they are ripening. These crop cages have a mesh covering that allows bees and beneficial insects through, but do not allow birds to get in and steal all of my blueberries.
If you grow blueberries, you will know that once the birds find them, they will eat them all before they even ripen! This is very frustrating to a home gardener.
My crop cages are a huge help but over the years they have been torn or developed other holes in them. These holes may have been made by my kids, or during winter storage, etc.
Instead of investing more money to replace the netting, repair the netting each year. As long as it fits over the frames, it's good to go!
I also use some finer mesh insect netting over some of my garden plants that could be attacked by the squash vine borer bug. Each year, I cover my zucchini, yellow squash, and other squash plants with this insect netting. This netting keeps these bugs off the plants. Once their mating season is complete in June, I remove the covers off the plants, and then the beneficial insects can pollinate the plants.
These covers also have developed holes in them that have been repaired over the years.
Keep reading this post or click the link below to watch a YouTube video demonstrating how to mend holes in these types of garden covers.
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Mending holes in Bird Netting
Below is a photo of one of the crop cages covering two of my blueberry plants. If you are interested in purchasing crop cages like these, look at the end of this post for links to purchase.
These crop cages are very nice and disassemble for storage. The cage has two zipper doors on opposite sides that allow entry to harvest the crops.
Below is circled a couple of places that were mended in previous years. Once, I sent my kids out to pick blueberries and they did not realize the netting was being held down to the grass. They pulled and ripped some holes in the netting. This was the fix for that tear.
The same technique was used to repair the older holes as is demonstrated in this post.
Another mend in the netting is shown below. As long as the holes are not too large, the netting can be mended and still stretch enough to fit over the frame.
How to Repair Bird Netting
Step 1 - Locate the holes in the bird netting.
Below my hand is under the first hole. Notice on each side of the hole, there is an intact line of the netting. You will be sewing these lines of netting on each side of the hole together to mend the hole.
Step 2 - Fold Netting
To repair the hole above, folded the netting together along the hole so the torn edges are together. Line up two intact vertical lines of the netting from the sides of the hole.
Step 3 - Trim Excess
Using a scissor, trim off any edges of the bird netting that's sticking out. If you have a special sewing scissor, do not use it for this purpose! Use an all-purpose scissor to cut the netting.
Step 4 - Sew Netting
Set your sewing machine to a zig-zag stitch. Starting at the top of the hole, zig-zag back and forth over the lines in the netting. It's best if you can zig-zag the lines on the sides of the hole together because this will give the mend strength to hold together.
Step 5 - Completed Mend
Below my hand is under the mended hole.
Step 6 - Find any other holes in the netting.
The one shown below is smaller. Fold the netting together as before and zig-zag stitch over two lines in the netting. There is a second hole just above and it will be mended the same way.
Below are the two mended holes. The zig-zag stitch holds the sides of the tear together.
Insect Netting - Small Hole Fix
The insect netting popup is shown below. The hole in this netting is quite small and can be mended using a needle and thread. There is no need to bring the insect netting popup inside. It can be mended while it's outside and protecting the plants in the garden.
Below is a photo of the full netting popup (or tent) and the hole can be seen next to the zipper opening near the center.
This is a close-up photo of the hole. This hole is large enough for the bugs to get through so I needed to mend it right away.
To mend the hole, I brought a needle, thread, and scissors out to the garden. The needle was threaded with a length of thread and doubled over. With the ends of the thread together, place a knot near the end.
Use the whip stitch to mend the hole. Start by putting the needle through at one end of the hole and pull the thread through to seat the knot in the back.
With your other hand, pinch the edges of the fabric together. Stitch by catching the fabric/netting on each side of the hole and pulling the thread tight. Do not pull so hard to break the thread. Stitch by catching the bottom first and then the top.
When stitching, do not stitch right at the edge of the tear. Put the needle in about 1/8" - 1/4" from the edge. If you are too close to the edge, the thread may pull through the netting making the hole larger.
Below is the finished mend. You can see the black thread lines are showing vertically along with the mend. Place a knot near the end of the mend and cut the remaining thread off.
Insect Netting - Large Tear Fix
After recording the original video, I found a really large hole in the top of my insect netting. It looks like a squirrel scratched and tore through the top of the netting.
This one, couldn't be fixed in the garden. The insect tent was brought inside to my sewing area to fix.
The insect netting and frame is quite large and it would be hard to manage under the sewing machine. So, for this fix, I decided to use fusible iron-on interfacing. Using two pieces of fusible interfacing, I "sandwiched" the hole and fused the interfacing together.
Step 1: Cut Pieces of Fusible Interfacing
Cut two pieces of fusible interfacing larger than the entire tear. Position an ironing board inside the insect netting under the tear.
Step 2: Place Interfacing
Slide one piece of interfacing through the hole and place it on the ironing board beneath the tear. The fusible side (shiny or bumpy side) will be facing the insect netting (facing up). The photo below shows the fusible interfacing placed.
Take the second piece of fusible interfacing and place it over the hole with the fusible side facing down as shown below in the photo. This "sandwiches" the hole between the two pieces of fusible interfacing.
Using your iron, fuse the interfacing to the insect netting and to the other piece of interfacing. Follow the directions on the interfacing when fusing. Be careful to not melt the insect netting as it may be made of a material that can be melted.
I ironed each section of the interfacing for about 10 seconds before moving to the next section. After it's been ironed, test the edges to make sure they are all adhered to the insect netting.
Other pieces of fusible interfacing were added to patch the other holes in the netting. The sandwiching technique was used for all of the patches. The netting is ready to be used in the garden once again.
I am not sure how long the fusible interfacing will last in the spring/summer sun, but it should last long enough to protect my plants from the squash vine borer bug.
I hope you enjoyed this video and photo tutorial! Look below for links to the products used in this tutorial.
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