Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Putting infrastructure in place for retirement #3

Un-netted veggie garden bed.
Naked veggie garden bed. A danger to worms.

Veggie gardens. A must for any retirement.

Well, ok, maybe not for everyone, but they fall into the category of setting up interests and activities for retirement before you actually reach that golden time. I spent a fortune getting the paving and wicking veggie beds installed, then I spent some more cash setting up the composting system that’s steadily improving the soil quality. Added onto that, I bought some worm farms that sit in the actual garden bed to also help with the soil.

What I didn’t factor in was the church at the back of my house. I approve of God looking after all the animals and birds and such, but why He allows them to nest in His roof and then use MY worms as tasty tasty snacks is something that I just can’t fathom. Something had to be done.

Short of bribing the local pyromaniac to burn the church down – and yes, we seem to have one of those in the suburb and he hasn’t been caught yet- it was obvious that I needed to do something to save my skinny slimy friends. I needed to put something in place that would be cost-effective and easy for a more elderly version of me to use.

Clamp on the side of the wicking bed.
This cost about 25c.

I saw a post by Late Starter Fire showing bird netting above her garden beds. A couple of twitter messages later and I had the gist of it. She’d had everything installed together, but I was coming late to the party and I had to work things out for myself.

A trip to the local hardware store and I had everything I needed. Clamps. Screws. 50 metres of hose pipe. Cutters to cut the hose pipe. All up? Around $60 or so.

Thus proving that not every project to improve the house for retirement needs to cost a bomb.

It's working! Hose pipe in the clamps.
So far, so good.

Thank goodness for adult sons who own a cordless drill and who don’t mind helping out around the place!

We cut 3-metre lengths of hose, stuffed them through the clamps and arched them over. Worked a treat.

All finished.

It didn’t take all that long before the job was done.

This is a very flexible system. I can take the lengths of hosepipe out if I want to grow a particularly tall crop like beans or tomatoes on a section of the garden beds, but in general, the height will be perfect for most crops.

Honestly, I’d prefer to have the beds without the netting, but aesthetics can’t win out over practicalities. The birds were throwing mulch all over the place and digging up not only worms but seeds as well. Old Lady Frogdancer doesn’t need to deal with that in her retirement!

This little job is an example of getting something done now, while I have the cash-flow, rather than waiting until I retire and then having to pay for it out of savings. Yes, it’s a little thing, but I know that Old Lady Frogdancer will be using it for decades. This is a job that only required a small bit of cash and an hour or so of time, but it helps make my home just that little bit more practical for retirement.

I just wish that my next project was as economical…

The naked paved area.

The last thing that I need to get done in the backyard is to put a verandah roof over this lower paved area and get some furniture for it. I’ve been getting quotes for the verandah over the last couple of weeks and I’ll be signing with a company on Tuesday. I feel a bit lop-sided because everyone seems to charge an arm and a leg for jobs like these.

My list of things to Get Done before I leave work is slowly shrinking, which is good.

Along with my savings…


  1. Bev

    A word of warning. The aperture on the net is too large and it’s too floppy….birds will easily get their claws caught in it. It happened to me when I bought the wrong sort of net initially. Trying to cut it from around a rosella’s neck while being bitten, wasn’t an experience I want to repeat! Plus, if you’re going to grow brassicas for winter eating, the cabbage white butterflies will easily get through it also. They can even get through 1 cm openings, as I found when I tried to use wire cages to keep them out.

    The best netting I’ve found is from Bunnings……Diamond Econetting……specially recommended not to trap birds. It comes in precut packs of various sizes and has a 5mm diamond shaped aperture. High tensile strength and UV stabilised. I use it for fruit trees but it’s too large for my wicking boxes and I don’t want to cut it, so I use mosquito netting on those to keep the butterflies out. All recommendations now for bird netting that I’ve seen are to use one with small holes to protect birds and it needs to be taut, not floppy.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Yes, I’ll have to replace the netting but for the moment, it’s what I have and it’s better than nothing.
      I’m not growing anything this winter so the cabbage moths aren’t an issue. Maybe next year, when I’ll have more time at home, will be when I’ll have to grab some mosquito netting. 🙂

  2. Latestarterfire

    So glad my netting inspired yours! It’s such a weight off the shoulders when things around the house are done and dusted. You’re certainly marching right along … good luck with the verandah!

  3. freddy smidlap

    i think i’m going to get some worms soon for vermiculture. the ones here in the u.s. are called red wigglers and i sent some to a friend of mine in new orleans as a thank you for hosting a party at his house. they really did wonders for the soil and continue to do the hard work.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Do it!! It’s such an easy thing to do and your garden will thank you for it.

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