I’m not the only one who’s eyeing my bed of ripening strawberries at the moment; robins, sparrows and other birds with gourmet palettes are, too. But who is going to win this berry-licious battle? The birds? Or the grower? And why is there a picture of Ruth Buzzi at the head of this post?
After growing berries for several years, and harvesting nary a one, I finally took the plunge this morning and bought a roll of bird netting. True, the material looks like Ruth Buzzi’s legendary hair apparel, but without this veil of protection, my berry patch would be strictly for the birds.
Bird netting is available at every hardware store and garden center. It is not expensive. It can be cut to size, and you can reuse it every year. Simply drape your berry bed with the net, lift it whenver you wish to pick fruit or pull weeds, and then recover. Shrubby plants like blueberry, gooseberry or currant can be covered individually. The netting does not interfer with sunlight, water, or pollinating bees.
The time to cover your berries, whatever they are, is the moment they begin to ripen. If you wish to share some of your berries with your birds, but not the entire crop, just leave a few of your plants un-netted. This way, both you and your feathered friends can enjoy the sweet, juicy harvest.