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.

Because running into this would NOT be fun

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.

Another strawberry fortress

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!

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§ 6 Responses to Strawberry Fortress Is Up

  • Dina Avila says:

    Now I know what to do with all of the saved jars spilling out of my cabinets 🙂

  • Amy says:

    How cute are your strawberry fortresses!! I really hope you didn’t take the picture of that raccoon… The jar actually adds a little artistic eye-catching touch if you ask me. A cage would just look too overwhelming for such a pretty backyard garden.

  • Ugh … that IS depressing to hear about critters leaving fruit to rot for you. Thanks for sharing your infinite knowledge on strawberries!

  • Ha! That is great! Fortunately, I didn’t have any problems with raccoons in my garden this year, but rabbits were devastating. They bit into my watermelons (which then rotted), red peppers, and a host of other things. It wouldn’t have been so bad if they would have just eaten the whole fruit, but eating a chunk and leaving the rest to rot was just depressing. Anyway, as far as growing strawberries goes, you can probably find more ideas at Strawberry Plants.org

  • Shaniqua says:

    I laughed out loud about the glass jar overload (crafty) and husband searching for air pistols!

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