Wednesday 21 March 2012

Rustic Fruit Cage Contruction

Allotment Man - a (fairly) Distant Relative of the Neanderthal

I thought it would be a good idea to build a fruit cage to protect our (hopefully impending) bounty. Being a man with very little construction skills I thought it would be a good idea to create it in a rustic style; mainly because it would be more difficult to criticize the inevitable wonkiness. I also thought the natural look would be a more appealing design.
Hunter Gatherer
First though, we had to lay the weed suppressing membrane. Normally this should be done before planting the fruit canes and frames but being an incompetent buffoon I forgot this and had to fumble my way through the wrong way about. Eventually we managed to cut, wiggle and yank the sheet down over the plants; it was a process not dissimilar to, attempting to put on a pair of trousers, via your head.

Gratuitous Plum Blossom
I had obtained a some stout coppiced hazel sticks, with the ends cut to points. I hammered these in as uprights for the frame, then my good friend Andy, who it turns out is growing his own orchard on the IOW, kindly donated a bundle more hazel sticks that looked perfect to complete the construction.
The Plan Starts To Take Shape
With the help of my boy we lugged all the equipment down to the allotment and set about bashing the uprights into the soil forming an rough rectangle. Next I lashed the thinner sticks around the top and across the middle to tie it all together.

If You Build It, They Will Come
My description here does make it sound a lot simpler than it actually was to complete the framework, it was pretty hard work. In the end though, we thought it looked quite pleasing and were contented with our mornings labour. We still need to attach the netting and fitting hinges to a hazel door might be quite troublesome too.


  1. Very - Funky.
    How about putting some arches in as well to stabilise it. Bending hazel sticks is brilliant fun...You could incidently gorw some beans up it as well
    For the door hinges you could try rubber bicycle innertubes??
    Best wishes

    in wales

    1. Hi Chris
      It is pretty sturdy now but I might try some bending. I though about diagonals but curves would be easier to attach.
      I was thinking of growing peas up the netting in one area but beans sounds fun too.
      The door & hinge problem has been "solved" (hopefully) now but I haven't had time to post it yet.
      I'm really pleased with the whole project, so I hope it doesn't all collapse before the summer.
      Watch this space for new developments...