11th July 2018 at 1:36 pm #2847
Throughout the season we grow pak choi, radish, rocket etc in open field but under fleece all the way to harvest. It’s the only we’ve found to get a marketable crop as we have a big flea beetle population.
Every now and then we get holes in it from a deer running it and the pests get in, but even with occasional losses like this, it’s profitable. This year a number of holes appeared – at first I blamed the jackdaws who were very busy on the ground at the time; but when I tried to lift it to tidy it up, the remnants of the fleece were falling into pieces.
Every piece of fleece we’d put down started doing this between 3 and 4 weeks of when we put it down; I tried using a different roll in case it was just a duff batch, but it wasn’t; it feels perfectly normal strength for fleece when putting it out, but disintegrates after 3 or 4 weeks sunshine. I can only put this down to the product breaking down in sunlight. Our local supplier (BHGS) has told me they used a different supplier to their main one this year (these rolls have a Thermagrow sticker on them).
Does anyone know a good place to get fleece that definitely doesn’t do this? Or (probaly a better and more sustainable long term solution) has anyone tried keeping flea beetle out with that horribly expensive wondermesh? Does it work against them? And does it last long enough to justify the cost?
Jim Aplin12th July 2018 at 2:57 pm #6177
We’ve use Gromax and Crop Solutions in the past and never had the touble you describe but these are ideed extreme conditions we are going through in terms of sunshine hours, heat and complete absence of rainfall for over 5 weeks. Recently only used fleece at the very start or end of the season, using nets instead. Yes 0.6mm nets keep out flea beetle and our existing nets are 4 to 6 years old. However they now need replacing – due partly to deer using them as night-time trampolines.20th July 2018 at 5:41 pm #6178
Moles are moving into my polytunnels at a rate I haven’t seen before. Some of the beds seem to be full of plants in mid-air with a network of tunnels beneath them. The plants are doing OK despite this, but when I hand water, craters appear. I suspect this is partly to do with the lack of water in the rest of the field. I’m trying mole scarers, which make a desolate noise and vibrate, which has worked a bit in the past. Any other advice? Is this happening elsewhere? If it does, is it worth pressing the soil down between plants or does that just lead to more earthworks? I don’t want to use traps if I can avoid it. Is it worth digging trenches round the tunnel and putting in a wire mesh barrier? I’d need to be sure that would work before taking on the work involved (would the moles just go overground and then dig inside?) Antonia
?>22nd July 2018 at 8:01 am #6179
Sorry about that – obviously the moles post was supposed to be a new one, not related to fleece. Not sure what I did, will try to sort it out later. Antonia28th July 2018 at 7:25 am #6180
Only buy ocasional rolls of fleece.Certainly variable and not sure who is a reliable source.LBS often don’t have width required/listed.Crop Solutions reps could probably tell you whole story and seem knowledgeble.We have found thicker 30gs+difficult to source as well but seemingly essential to withstand proper frost.
A recent roll was stretchy on the sides!(useless to use).Have also seen rolls degrade.Always a pain to store as rodent attractive too.5th August 2018 at 10:28 pm #6183
We invested in a roll of fleece this year to protect young crops. Exactly as you describe. Within a few weeks it was full of holes and disintegrating into a powdery mess, blowing all over the field.
I took pictures and contacted the supplier. They got in touch with the manufacturer, who said that it looks exactly like what happens when there is a manufacturing fault and the chemical that protects the fabric from UV radiation is not added during the manufacturing process. But he was puzzled as to why only one roll seemed to be affected, as he hadn’t received any other complaints… (but maybe no-one else thought to complain…??)
To be fair to both manufacturer (Tildenet) and supplier (SW Horticultural Supplies), they were keen to resolve the issue, and I was given a replacement, larger roll free of charge, which was delivered promptly. This one seems to be fine and has not disintegrated.
However – I’m still pretty unhappy about the clear-up operation – having put 4 strips of 50m by 3 m fleece out on the field initially, I now have a hell of a mess to clear up. Picking up clumps of disintegrated plastic fabric from where it had fallen among the plants is not my idea of a good time, and it’s not my idea of sustainable farming! And I’ve now got to dispose of it all somehow.
I’m sure the extreme UV levels this year made it worse than it might otherwise have been.
I may contact the manufacturer again to see if I can get info about how this stuff degrades, since I couldn’t pick all the tiny pieces/fibres up from the soil.
Have you managed to get any money back, or a replacement product?
Becky5th September 2018 at 3:22 pm #6184
Update to my previous post about fleece. The replacement roll I was given has disintegrated in the same way as the original, and I’m at the end of my tether trying to deal with the horrible fragments that are caught around plants on the field. I’ve now got around 10 sacks of waste that I need to deal with.
I have contacted the supplier to see if I can get some answers, and hopefully a refund …
Unhappy bunny.5th September 2018 at 7:19 pm #6185
It sounds like a batch from the same manufacturer – the Thermagrow (2metre width) I used is a Tildenet product. I didn’t deal with them, because the supplier (BHGS) quickly agreed to refund us for all the rolls we’d bought when my partner took a sample of the disintegrated fleece in.
Glad she did; I was too annoyed about the value of the crops lost (especially as we were struggling and losing other crops not under fleece at the same time), and the frustrating and unpaid clear-up that needed doing, to want to chase it up.
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