Would you like to protect your vegetable garden form pests without the use of nasty chemical sprays?
Mesh crop covers could be the answer. The fabric is a very fine mesh (0.6mm) that prevents pests from eating your edible crops. The fabric allows 90% of rain and sunlight through the fabric and also offers some frost protection. The fabric doesn't seem to blow away in strong winds, if the edges are weighted down with bricks/stones, etc.
I tested the fabric last summer on my own vegetable garden very successfully. On my potato crop, I laid the fabric over the top and pinned the edges down with bricks. I also ensured there was excess fabric tucked under at the sides, so that the edges would be totally sealed as the crop grew taller. This resulted in a bumper crop that was totally pest free!
On one of my other vegetable plots, I covered the whole garden bed with the fabric. It was supported by fiberglass hoops which spanned the width of the garden and the fabric was tied at each end of the plot. There were a variety of crops grown beneath, which required regular access to harvest them - almost on a daily basis. This meant that the cover was off for enough time for some aphids and white fly to enter and then of course, multiply! But I would say there was definitely a reduction in pest populations and no sprays were used on any of it. However, I left the cover on over the winter, which was a mistake, as snow collected on it and broke the fiberglass supports!
I also used the fabric to recover the screen doors and roof vents on my tunnel-house. The pest population was very much reduced but not totally eliminated - probably because the kids failed to completely close the doors on a number of occasions!
This year I plan to lay the fabric over to top of individual crops and weigh it down, as I did with my potato crop last year. This reduces the time that it will be uncovered and therefore the amount of time in which pests can gain access.
One important thing to note is that insect pollinators are also unable to gain access to your crops, so if you are growing something that needs pollinating - you may need to remove the cover at critical times or alternatively hand pollinate.
Mesh crop covers are definitely worth the investment to prevent pests from ruining your edible crops without the use of chemicals.
The cloth and further information is available from www.bhu.org.nz