Strawberry Fortress Is Up
August 26, 2010 § 6 Comments
Yesterday I went to the hardware store, determined to come home with supplies to defend my ripening strawberries against further critter attacks. I intended to get stakes and netting, or maybe wire, to build a cage to keep the critters out.
At the hardware store, I met a lovely store employee named Esther, who agreed with my hunch that the critters are raccoons. Esther advised me to try encasing my plants in plastic milk jugs — cut off the bottoms, sink them into the dirt and leave the cap off to let the berries get light. She said it’d be cheaper and easier than building a cage, it would have the added benefit of providing a mini-hothouse for the berries to ripen quicker and it would enable me to test whether the raccoons still came around with added barriers in place.
Interesting idea. Only problem is, we don’t buy milk in plastic jugs; we buy it in skinnier glass ones which would never fit around the plants. And I wasn’t about to go out and buy a bunch of milk in plastic jugs for this project.
Luckily, I have a habit of keeping jars. Every time we finish a jar of jam or olives or whatever, I wash out and keep the jar. I have an entire cabinet full of ’em. I had no idea what I would do with all of these jars, I just figured they’d come in handy someday.
Well, that day has arrived.
I decided that instead of trying to encase the entire strawberry plant, I’d encase each ripening berry (or pair of berries) in a small glass jar, secure the jar in a shallow trench in the dirt so it doesn’t roll around, and then strategically place pointy bamboo skewers around the jar.
It’s a good thing I only have 12 strawberry plants.
For good measure, I also went outside late last night a few times and shined a flashlight around. I wanted to see if there were any critters lurking in the shadows, but thankfully, I didn’t have a midnight encounter with a raccoon. However, I think an unintended side effect may have been that they stayed away from the strawberry patch, because this morning, for once, there were no signs of critter attacks.
When my husband saw my contraptions and heard about my flashlight escapade, he immediately started searching online for good air pistols to buy.
Keep your fingers crossed for me that the strawberry fortresses work!