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Old July 11, 2017   #6
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: California Central Valley
Posts: 2,396

We have one backyard fig tree, which I planted 3 years ago. The first year we got a few figs, and critters got the rest. So last year we built a cage around it while the figs were small, and it worked!

The frame is pvc tubes, 5 ft. square and 6 ft. high. We wrapped 6 pieces of metal screening around it, stapled to upright furring strips (because the screening we found was 3 ft x 7 ft). There's about a 1" overlap where we sewed the sections together with fishing line. At the bottom is a 4" section not stapled to the furring strips, so that we could place bricks on top of that 4" section all the way around to secure the bottom. Three of the furring strips are tied to each other across the top, providing stability and cross-bracing. (The 4th serves as the "door.")

Over the top, we draped some tulle from the fabric store -- a shiny spider-web pattern that I thought would be a good bird deterrent. The fabric wasn't 5 ft wide, so we sewed 2 pieces together. It's secured to the wire screening with clothespins, 4 per side. Small plastic containers sit on top of the 3 furring strips to prevent the wood from making holes in the fabric as the wind blows.

To get in, I remove the 4 clothespins from the "door" side of the structure, untie the furring strips at the top (secured with thick wire ties), lean the unbraced furring strip to one side, and go in. We're both thin enough to get in this way.

Last year we picked around 40 figs, so that would make it $2.50 per fig -- the structure cost about $100 in materials (not including the bricks, which we had). That cost per fig will be further reduced this year.

I've seen larger cages made with regular doors, and covered sides and top with chicken wire or hardware cloth, but that was much more than we needed.
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