Tired of birds and other pests devouring your strawberries before you get to pick them? Here’s the best way to protect strawberries and enjoy a bountiful harvest.
This is only the second time we’ve ever tried to grow strawberries, but we’re already about 1000% more successful thanks to this trick we used to protect strawberries. I don’t think we even got a single strawberry out of our little strawberry patch that first time a few years ago and it was all because of those darn birds stealing them as soon as they started to turn red!
Actually, I really love that we have so many birds around our property. I love to see them hopping around in the grass, and I love hearing them singing early in the morning. And I really love finding little nests of baby birds all over the place in the spring! Actually, the only thing I don’t like about them is when they steal my strawberries.
How to Protect Strawberries
We decided to try growing a mini “test” strawberry patch this year, just to see if we could get this thing figured out and I love what we came up with! A few weekends ago, I started insisting that we needed to find some kind of solution for putting a mesh screening over our strawberries ASAP. They were about to start ripening at any moment and I didn’t want to be too late to the game and lose all of our precious strawberries!
Chris and I usually have to work together on little garden projects like this, meaning that one of us plays tractors in the sandbox with Jack while the other one is free to work. So I let Chris know that during my tractor-playing time that weekend, this was his number one priority! I really only meant for him to whip up some kind of super simple frame and then throw some some plastic mesh over it, that we already had in the garage, so really it shouldn’t have been a big deal. Of course, he built the most beautiful strawberry cover ever known to man, because that’s just what he does!
He picked up some little 1X1 decking pieces and used up the mesh we already had on hand, like I said. Yay for having one less thing in the garage! The 1X1 wood is actually pressure treated, but it looks suspiciously like cedar for some reason and it’s really pretty. 🙂
There are a couple of things to note about this picture. One of them is how he built a separate frame on both the outside and the inside of the strawberry cover box, and then sandwiched the mesh in between so that it’s super secure. A single frame will work fine if you prefer, just staple the mesh to the frame.
Adventures in Family Gardening
The second thing is that tiny arm of Jack’s just popping into the picture really quick to steal Chris’ tools while he was working. This is what happens if we stop playing tractors for just a second so I can grab a quick picture with my phone. It was pretty much complete mayhem for a few minutes after that because Jack wanted every single tool or piece of wood that Chris needed at the exact second he needed it. This is the way we work around here!
I did eventually manage to get him distracted again though, and the strawberry cover got finished!
Let me tell you, when we go out there after school to pick a strawberry or two, those berries are in pristine condition!
It looks like the mesh is quite dark, but a lot of sun really still gets through and the berries are still ripening nicely under there. The sides of the cover don’t have a bottom frame so that as the plants get bigger, they won’t accidentally get crushed when we put the cover down.
I’ve seen some people who have had heavier, more permanent strawberry “cages” made out of chicken wire in their gardens. They’ll plant the strawberry plants inside the cages and then they have a lidded top so they can reach in and grab the berries. This is probably a good solution for in the city where raccoons might be your berry stealers, but I like that this one Chris built is light-weight and can be completely removed for weeding and harvesting. It’s also great for discouraging a lot of bugs that can bother young plants early in the spring, so I like that we can move it around and reuse it for other purposes whenever we want to. Plus it looks pretty!
Avoid the Harsh Chemicals
If you’ve got a problematic strawberry patch, I definitely recommend trying this most simple solution before you go searching for some kind of magical chemical that will suddenly make strawberries unappealing to all animals. It’s working so well for us and we don’t have to worry about a thing if we want to pick some berries, give them a quick rinse with the hose, and eat them right there in the garden.
How do you protect strawberries and keep them safe from the animals and bugs in your garden?
Some other favorite gardening posts:
- How to successfully grow your first grape vines
- How to edge a new flower garden
- Cutting Onions Without Tears
- How to harvest basil for strong and product
- Magical, Natural, Weed Killing Potion
- How to clean your well-loved Hunter boots
- How to use salt to get your weeds under control
- 5 uses for old coffee grounds in your garden
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.