Tuesday, September 20, 2011
We've made all the mistakes so you don't have to!
Bird netting is frustrating. Bird netting on a Geneva Double Curtain is even more frustrating. There's no way around it. I wonder why no one warned me about this when we started out.
Well, enough complaining. Here's how we have decided to keep the birds out.
1) We nailed 8oz deli cups to the ends of 5 ft 2x4s
2) Then we nailed the 2x4s to the tops of our posts.
3) Then we ran twine between the 2x4s to keep the netting off of the vines.
4) After that, we draped the net.
This all sounds very easy. The thing is, we tried every other possible way to do this before we came up with these solutions.
So here's what NOT to do:
1) Do not sew together more than 3 rows. The tension on the nets becomes inoperable, slows down progress, and will rip the nets if you have a strong wind. We sewed together the first 16 rows of the vineyard. Bad idea.
2) Drape more liberally than you think you should. You can tighten the nets (so the birds can't sit on them and stick their little beak through the nets) sufficiently by twisting the nets around the staples.
3) Keep the ends untacked, but secured with rocks so you can scare the birds out in the mornings and not have to re-tack later
4) 1 1/2 inch fencing staples won't work. 2 inch fencing staples won't work. 2 1/2 inch fencing staples won't work. 16 penny nails won't work. 20 penny nails will work, but they're expensive and a chore to remove. 4 inch sod staples are perfect, cheap, fast, and easily reclaimed.
5) It's important to have enough slack to tuck the netting under the ground wire after tacking every 2-3 feet or so. This will save a lot of staples, time and energy.
Things I might consider doing next year:
1) Get 22 ft netting instead of 17 ft netting. That way, tucking is much easier
2) sew on a few extra feet on the ends of every row so that we have more slack to tuck under the bailing twine
3) replace the bailing twine that runs from 2x4 to 2x4 with some sort of wire to keep the netting of the vines a little more
4) putting some sort of guide wire from the 2x4 to the ground and then running another wire between the guide wires about 4 ft off the ground to keep the nets away from the fruiting zone a little more
5) un-sew the first block of nets so that there is much less tension on the first 16 rows
Well, that's a summary of what we've learned these past two hectic weeks. A big thank you to my friend and resident expert in bird netting, Patrick Meagher for helping us work this out and keeping me more sane than I would have been otherwise.
Thanks to my Mom for stepping up her hours at the store so we could devote more hours to the bird netting, and of course, to my dad, for paying for it.