It's Time to Cover the Berries

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.

Be sure to read these Related Posts:
Strawberry Fields (Nearly) Forever
The Easy Kitchen Garden


  1. I agree. Don't cover all of your berries, let the birds have a few!

  2. I love Ruth Buzzi AND strawberries. Nice to see a connection between the two! Six degress of separation, anyone? I think Kevin Bacon puts strawberries on his cheeries…

  3. Andrew Thompson says:

    What a shock to come to your blog today and see – yoinks! – “Gladys” from Rowan & Martin's “Laugh-In.” I shall run right out and buy three hair nets for my three blueberry bushes.


  4. That's “Cheerios,” not “cheries.”

  5. Glad that everyone “got” the Ruth Buzzi connection. And Andrew, I'd completely forgotten about that “Laugh In” motto: sockittomesockittome! Didn't they get Richard Nixon to say this once?

  6. How about a garden salute to Tiny Tim?? He grew up in my old neighborhood Washington Heights wehre there were no tulips to tiptoe through! Would Tiny be able to tiptoe through tulips anytime other than spring? Perhaps in Europe?

  7. Well, were he still with us, he could tiptoe through tulips that Miss Vickie forced into early, indoor bloom, in Jan. or Feb. I'll have a post on bulb-forcing in Sept. or Oct. BTW, whatever happened to Miss Vickie (or Vicky)?

  8. Who is Miss Vicky?

  9. Justin, Miss Vicky was Tiny Tim's wife. They were married (for real)in 1969 on The Tonight Show, hosted by Johnny Carson.

    Ah, the wisdom one acquires here at A Garden for the!

  10. Barbara says:

    Yeah, they don’t taste so good when the birds eat them.

  11. I never have a problem with birds eating my berries… more with the snails and rotting… but not birds.

    Good luck and happy berry eating!

  12. I have had bad luck with bird netting (snakes getting stuck-a huge black snake stuck in several spots- I felt sorry for him-it took me 2 hours to get him free, birds and chipmunks as well). So, I now use tulle netting from the fabric store. It is so inexpensive especially when it is on sale and I have gotten a couple years out of it.

  13. Mary James says:

    I got a chipmunk and a bird entwined in the netting and had to do rescue operations. I decided a few berries was not worth the death of my critter and feathered friends….

  14. A trick I have learned is to paint small rocks to look like ripened strawberries and place them around the plants prior to the fruit actually ripening. The birds come to investigate and are less inclined to return when the actual fruit is ready!
    Can’t wait to see what else you make from strawberries in your upcoming book! Love your blog

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