The garlic I planted last November is beginning to put up shoots and I’m about to plant some red onion sets in the rest of the bed, so I’ve rigged up some protection against the dreaded allium leaf miner that devastated almost everyone’s onions on the allotments last year. This recently introduced pest is now widespread across the West Midlands, affecting everything in the allium family including onions, leeks and garlic.
Having successfully kept the creatures off the leeks in the garden last year with fine mesh, I’m consolidating my allium crops onto two beds on the allotment. I’ve bought some blue water pipe from a DIY centre to make hoops and covered them with a sheet of fine mesh to rig up this protective tunnel, fixing the edges down with tent pegs. It could do with another set of hoops for stability but will do for now.
The stuff to build the tunnel isn’t cheap, but if you buy decent mesh, it’s meant to last up to 10 years before the UV breaks it down. I’ve one at home I’ve used for three years and it’s still fine - a bit grubby now, so it’s currently soaking in a tub of water ready for a delicates cycle in the washing machine. It’s not just for aesthetic purposes - any build up of dirt and algae will reduce the amount of light that gets through to the plants underneath.