A fruit cage is a great way to protect your crops from the elements, but it can also be an attractive addition to your garden. You can build these cages out of many different materials and use them for various purposes. If you are looking for some ideas on making one of these yourself, this list has nine ideas for you to try!
#1 Buy A Fruit Cage Kit
The first idea on our list is the easiest and the fastest option. Buying a fruit cage kit that has all of the parts you need, including the poles, connectors, netting, pegs, and door, will mean that you can start erecting your cage as soon as it arrives! If you need something a little more specialist, you should look at bespoke fruit cages. These can be made to your exact specifications, and most come with netting cut to size too. It’s a great way to get a cage that fits a particular spot or size without the hassle.
#2 Build A Timber Fruit Cage With Chicken Mesh
If you want a more rustic feel, then a wooden fruit cage might be for you. It’s a great way to add height and interest to your garden or outdoor space while protecting your plants.
You can use any timber for this fruit cage idea, but we would recommend pressure treated material that is insect resistant as it will last longer in the elements. To make a wooden fruit cage, you’ll need to cut some lengths of wood into poles and assemble them with connectors before securing chicken mesh to the outside, either on a frame or attached directly.
Don’t forget to include a door too! You can make a simple door for your fruit cage by opening a section of mesh and securing it to the side of your cage with pegs.
Once you have built one fruit cage, you will easily replicate this idea using different materials such as bamboo, sanded plywood or wire mesh panels for an industrial feel. The choice is yours!
#3 Install Fencing Around Your Vegetables
If you only want to protect your vegetables from ground-based pets, then simply building a low fence around your plot can be a great fruit cage alternative. It’s easy to build and remove when you want the space back or are working in the patch.
A wooden fence is also an effective solution for keeping pets and children away from delicate or potentially poisonous plants.
You can build a simple wooden frame, secure chicken mesh to the outside, and then attach it directly with cable ties or nails. You could even use garden netting if you don’t want anything too permanent!
#4 Try a Polytunnel Instead
A polytunnel is a great fruit cage alternative if you are looking for something permanent. These tunnels are not only great for growing fruit but they can also be used to grow vegetables or flowers in the right conditions.
The structure will last a long time and protect from all-weather while allowing sunlight, so your plants aren’t shadowed by the netting. You can attach the tunnel to existing fencing or posts, but it is also possible to create a free-standing structure with sturdy corner posts.
As well as fruit trees, you could try growing some vegetables inside your polytunnels, such as tomatoes and cucumbers.
#5 For Tall Trees & Bushes – Just Use Netting
Netting trees isn’t an easy task, but it is effective. Most trees will be too large for a fruit cage, so you’ll need to find an alternative solution like fruit tree netting.
The best way to net a tree is to attach the netting to stakes on either side of it, making sure that you’ll need to stretch out the material as your tree grows.
Netting can also be used on younger bushes if they are being bothered by birds or other wildlife.
#6 Build A Fruit Cage From Aluminium Poles
Aluminium is an excellent material to use for fruit cages as it’s lightweight and easy to move around. Combine this with some bird netting, and you’ll have a fruit cage up and running in no time.
The poles will need to be cut into specific lengths and then joined together with connectors to make the cage. You can use the same design as for a wooden fruit cage, but you may need to make adjustments for additional supports and doors.
#7 Add A Shade Roof To Your Fruit Cage
Most plants and vegetables will benefit from some shade on those baking hot summer days. Adding a layer of shade netting to all or part of your fruit cage roof will provide some much-needed sanctuary for your plants and will keep you cool while you’re tending to the patch.
50% shade netting is usually a good choice because it still lets some sunlight through but takes away much of the heat that causes damage to plants. Alternatively, you could put shade netting up to protect certain plants and bushes.
#8 Transform An Old Greenhouse Or Structure Into A Fruit Cage
If you’ve got an old structure or greenhouse that has seen better days, it could be the perfect base for a new fruit cage. You could either carefully dismantle the existing structure are repurpose the parts to make a new cage or add netting to the old structure to patch up any holes where pests might enter.
Other considerations before embarking on this are whether or not the structure gets a good amount of sun and if plants will be adequately protected from pests and adverse weather.
#9 Create A Fixed Steel Fruit Cage
Fruit cages that will be in a fixed spot, for example, in a kitchen garden or allotment, are best made from heavy-duty materials like steel.
These fruit cages can either be attached to a wall or fence, made with free-standing posts or installed as an addition on top of existing fencing.
The steel framework will require some base, and you’ll need to make sure that it is stable and secure before adding any netting over the frame. This type of cage can last for many years, but you’ll need to ensure it is properly maintained.
As we’ve seen, there are plenty of ways to build a fruit cage, from buying a ready-made fruit cage to building your own structure from steel poles and bird netting.
Whatever materials you choose to make your cage from, the most important thing is protecting your fruit and vegetable plants. As long as you remember the basics, you’ll have a fruit cage installed in no time.
Hopefully, this post has inspired some creativity to build your fruit cage or modify the one you currently own!