Monday, 10 October 2022

Squirrels & Sweetcorn II

Following my post on here and a number of Allotment Facebook groups regarding Squirrels and Sweetcorn and asking for suggestions on protecting sweetcorn from squirrels 

Here is Sarah Marshalls (Allotment Junkies) 
attempt at keeping out badgers and squirrels which in her words "was to build this Colditz like structure, but I must sadly report that the corn seems to have died due to lack of watering and not enough airflow!"

I did remark that it was only missing the machine gun tower!

Barry N Lurkins had a great idea 

He took a folding gazebo frame and covered it in debris netting. I did ask Barry if he sowed the debris netting together to give coverage and I was glad to hear he did the same as me for my sprouts frames and used cable ties.

I have made a tall hoop frame with ties between the two sides of the hoops to try and maintain the 1.2m width, however this is tall enough for Brussel Sprouts but would not be tall enough for most varieties of sweetcorn. 

This is why I have been looking for a more rectilinear solution to the problem.

If I go the scaffolding debris netting route, I could make a braced cage out of bamboo, making sure each face is braced in the opposite direction for the face it is in parallel with. I have had sweetcorn blown over by wind in the past and would not want the framework collapsing under wind load and taking the sweetcorn with it! 

Members List

4 x 2.4m Ledgers 
4 x 1.2m Transoms 
6 x 2.4m Standards pushed into the ground 
8 x 1.8m Diagonal Braces 
2 x 1.8m Plan Braces (not shown on the sketch but would be on the top)

Note as an ex-temporary works designer I've used scaffolding terms for the members making up the structure. I would fix each member using cable ties, wire or string. 

The alterative that would deal with everything except the bracing would be Flex Balls that I spotted on the Suttons web site 

The Product Description says...

"These flexible rubber-like balls can be used as a universal joint in the construction of many plant supports, cloches, fruit cages and more - simply cover with netting or polythene. The 6 flexible holes will take a wide range of different size canes or metal tubing, from the very thin end of a cane to the very thick end, up to 13mm (½") diameter."

Now the Ex-Research and Development Engineer within me really wants to know how they are doing that "from the very thin end of a cane to the very thick end, up to 13mm (½") diameter." and just how effective the connections are going to be once the frame is assembled. 

Suttons marketing, if you are reading this and would like to send me KC9906 Flexi Balls 2 packs of 10 to play with trial and review, please feel free to do so. 

The braces would still have to be connected via string, wire of cable ties but it would simplify the lengths of canes needed and provide better, smoother nodes/ joints that are less likely to cause damage to the covering material or netting.

Members List using Flexi Balls

  8 x 1.2m Ledgers 
  4 x 1.2m Transoms 
12 x 1.2m Standards (Lower ones pushed into the ground say 200mm)  
  8 x 1.8m Diagonal Braces 
  2 x 1.8m Plan Braces (not shown on the sketch but would be on the top)
12 x Flexi Balls 

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