Protective structures for your crops


Construct simple structures to support netting or fleece and cover to protect crops from pests and the cold weather.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Maths, Science, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Learn about food chains
  • Learn what plants need to grow
  • Measure materials for use and build structures using suitable tools

Essential background information


Ask students who else might like to eat their crops and what might harm them.

Introduce the idea that we can protect our crops. Show photos of different protective structures.

Decide on which structure the group is going to make.


  • Plastic bottles, plant pots or plastic balls
  • Fine netting or fleece 
  • Pegs and string
  • Twiggy or willow sticks 
  • Bamboo canes at least as tall as the crop will grow or blue alkathene pipe

Step by step

There are two methods you can use, depending on what sort of structure you need and what materials you have available:

Water pipe hoops

  1. Cut water pipe into lengths long enough to make hoops over the bed,
  2. Remember to work out how tall the crop will grow and allow for this.
  3. Sink the end of the pipe into the soil (or onto short sticks in the soil). Repeat the hoops every metre along the bed.
  4. Lay netting or fleece over the hoops and peg down to stop wind blowing it off or pests going under the netting.

Sticks with bottles or balls as cane toppers

  1. Insert canes/sticks around your crop and some in the centre to add support.
  2. Cap each stick with a plastic bottle or ball, or make your own fun cane toppers to brighten up the garden.
  3. Lay netting over the sticks and peg down.

Hints & tips

  • Push twiggy sticks around your crops and then lay netting over for the simplest way to protect them from birds.

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