Bin there, done that: How to make mini-cages

9/3/16

There are few things more pleasing than spotting a bargain on something you really need. One of those more pleasing things is coming up with a solution to a problem when spotting something you don’t really need, but turned on its head would be fantastic used for something else.

8/6/16One of the challenges with raised bed gardening on a small-scale is that sometimes you have to stuff plants in wherever you can find a spare space. I’d done just that recently, with some purple sprouting cabbage and cauliflower plug plants, and I’ve been checking them everyday to rub off any butterfly eggs. It won’t be long before a hungry pigeon spots them, though, so they really need some sort of protection. I have others that I covered with some pop-up food nets, but these are too restricting now.

This morning I was Hoovering my daughter’s bedroom and spotted a blue wire waste paper bin in the corner. In reply to my jabbing finger and expression of curiosity, she shouted “Present from dad. Proper Job”. (for anyone who doesn’t know it, Proper Job is a small Somerset chain of hardware stores, a sort of upmarket Pound Land. You have to say Prarpurr Jaarb to enjoy the experience fully).

9/3/16I turned off the Hoover, grabbed my purse and car keys and headed for the door. “Where are you going?!” called my daughter, leaning out of the bedroom window, forehead furrowed… “I’ll be back in half an hour!” I hollered, as I screeched out of the drive. This was too perfect to miss.

Joy of joys, these wire waste paper bins were only £1 each! I bought half a dozen and sped home. I chose black (hallelujah that they had black!), as it merges into the garden, but they also do other colours.  I covered them with some off-cuts of netting, that were not much use for anything, and pinned it in place with some small bulldog clips. At some point I’ll get round to threading through some twine, or use some plastic ties, for a more permanent and neat fix.9/3/16

They make perfect mini cages to keep the last of the summer butterflies off and give small plants a chance to get established. And I can see myself covering a few with plastic or bubble wrap to use as cloches for frost protection over the winter and into spring.

Another thought, if you can’t find any cheap wire bins, is to get hold of some old lampshade frames and do the same. A variety of shapes could look pretty stylish, don’t you think? You can find them on EBay or Etsy, but you’d get them much, much cheaper by doing a few car boot sales… race you to it!

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