31 May 2014

Cage Fightin' Strawberry

I bought strawberries at the grocery store. They were, well, strawberries. I picked my second pair of strawberries from the garden this week. They were phenomenal.

I scooped up the plant at our plant swap two years ago from a neighbor that was giving up on growing strawberries. "Too may critters and not enough rewards," was his answer. During the first year, the handful of berries produced went straight to bellies of squirrels, birds, and slugs, most while still an unripe white. The berries cropped up, off and on, throughout the year, although never as abundantly as in spring.

This year, the gloves gave off. I fashioned a small cage to keep the varmints out, and to date it is working. The top of a tomato cage is wrapped in bird netting, producing a netted top hat that is easily lifted to get inside. Squirrels can still reach into the berries if needed, but I believe they have not discovered the plant this year. If they show up in the ring, I will just build a bigger cage.

The berries were not large. For the taste test, I chomped into a mega-sized store-bought berry from California just before the home grown ones. The store-bought were fine. My home-grown berries taste 'noisy' -- screaming wild and strong. If only the berries were more plentiful and larger I would be singing, too. Even a small number of strawberries taste good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For The Record:
  • Decent well-drained soil on a slope
  • Full sun, leaf mulch
  • Light amount of nitrogen fertilizer
  • Yellowing of lower leaves, squirrels and birds eat fruit


Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: salvia, echinacea, coreopsis
  • Harvested: strawberries, spinach

4 comments:

Jim Coliton said...
Fortunately the strwaberry U-Pick farms are openning up. We went last weekend and picked about 7 pounds, and are going again this afternoon to get more. I don't think I want to try and grow my own, I agree with your neighbor - too much work for too little reward. But the cage looks sturdy and I hope you are able to get a crop from there.
Swimray said...
Jim,
So far the critters have stayed away, and I am enjoying 3-4 strawberries a week. Bigger ones, too. Watering helps that.
Ray
J Clark said...
Great post. I went away for the long weekend, and came back to find all my raspberries had been appropriated by the birds and squirrels. To add insult to injury, as I opened the curtains the other morning, Bambi was eating the last of the lily blossoms. Guess I'd waited too long to reapply the Liquid Fence.
Swimray said...
Write about your success with the liquid fence.
Ray