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netting on strawberries

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netting on strawberries

Post  GrammaAllie on 7/2/2011, 5:45 pm

Hi,

I just found this kool site and joined immediately.

My garden consists of 14 raised beds. I have had strawberries in the center box for several years and I added netting stretched over hoops of PVC 2 years ago to keep the birds out.

All has gone well until this year. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a bird that was caught inside the netting and I had my male friend help it get out (I am too sqeemish). When he was moving the netting to let it out, he noticed a chipmunk, also caught in the netting and it had it wrapped around it's neck. He freed it and we tucked the netting up really well under the 2x2's that I have laying on the benches of the box to hold the netting down.

The day before yesterday, my 10 year old Granddaughter who was visiting from North Dakota, hopped up on one of the bences and pulled a small 2x2 up you reach under & pick some ripe strawberries, and there was a dead chipmunk hanging on the netting. She didn't see it (thank goodness) and I quickly told her to put the board down & come out of the garden. My male friend went down and removed it.

My garden is a place of peace and life to me, and to feel responsible now for killing that cute little animal is heartbreaking. I feel like my strawberry patch is tainted now, and I am leary to even go in my garden.

I am thinking about removing the netting entirely, but if I do, then the birds will rob me blind.

Does anyone have any suggestions on a different type of netting or cover or fencing or anything else I can do to protect my strawberries. I really, really don't want to be responsible for killing any more animals with that awful netting.

GrammaAllie

GrammaAllie

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Age : 59
Location : Illinois, Zone 5

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Re: netting on strawberries

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 7/2/2011, 6:04 pm

Glad you found us, welcome aboard!! I hope you get a solution to the issue that is to your liking. Personally, I try to rid my SFG of any garden critters, except birds and beneficial insects. I don't mind losing some fruits to some birds because I know they also take insects. However, chipmunks drive me nuts. I wouldn't stop covering my garden because I found a few in there. They were likely about do go to digging and whatnot anyway.

I don't like killing innocent animals any more than the next person, but sometimes MY garden comes first. What would we do if a lion was trying to take our food? Just apologize and let it? I understand that's a bit extreme for an analogy, but I still believe the principle is the same. I will dodge any chipmunk in the street, but if he gets caught in my netting, so be it. Another will move right in and take his place. Smaller, or finer, guaged netting may be your answer; something the critters can't poke their heads through.

Either way, there will be some great answers for you soon. Much better/softer than mine. You have found a great forum with lots of helpful people. I hope to see you getting active along with us. Nice to have you here.

BackyardBirdGardner

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Age : 42
Location : St. Louis, MO

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Re: netting on strawberries

Post  staf74 on 7/2/2011, 7:22 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote: Smaller, or finer, guaged netting may be your answer; something the critters can't poke their heads through.

BINGO !!!! Just get smaller netting and perhaps keep it taught so it has no way to work around a critters movements.

Pic of what I chose to build to keep the birds off of my blueberry and strawberry stash!!



Overkill? Perhaps. But I was determined.......and have a lot of free time on my hands.

staf74

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Re: netting on strawberries

Post  quiltbea on 7/2/2011, 8:39 pm

Welcome to the board.
I'm sorry for the loss of wildlife. I, too, would feel sad about that. I try to share most of my land with wildlife and try not to hurt anything.

To solve the dilemma about the strawberries, I am trying two methods. Both are working. I found the bird netting openings much too wide.

I got a long net greenhouse, green, with very small holes over hoops. It was only ten feet long but I wanted to try it out before buying more.
I also am using light weight insect barrier cloth. Its light enough for sunshine to get thru just fine and also water. Both are working just fine for me. You have to be sure the coverings go down to the ground on both sides.

Here's a view of the long raised bed with strawberries with both coverings.
I've been harvesting from both sides and I'm glad of this rather than the bird netting for another reason. Grasshoppers. They are trying to get to my strawberries but can't manage to get under either of these coverings.
Strawberries under each covering seem to be equal in ripeness and maturity.

I hope you solve your problem soon.

quiltbea

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Location : Southwestern Maine Zone 5A

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Re: netting on strawberries

Post  GrammaAllie on 7/3/2011, 11:17 am

Wow, what quick responses, I love you guys already.

The netting that I am using is regular bird netting and the holes are only about 1/2 inch.

The problem is that the netting is so flexible that it is hard to get it secured so nothing can get under it, and it catches on the slightest splinter on the wood boxes.

I do agree for the most part with the opinion that it is MY garden and I do still want to protect it, so thank you backyardbirdgardener for reminding me of that.

staf74 and quiltbea, thank you for the pics, I love seeing what others are trying.

I will look for the lightweight insect barrier cloth. That looks to be a little more sturdy than the tiny bird netting and I think I can secure that better.

Thank you so much for your kind words and advice. I have found a place that I will be visiting often!

Allie

GrammaAllie

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Re: netting on strawberries

Post  Furbalsmom on 7/3/2011, 4:47 pm

Allie,

Very nice to have you join this great group of people.

I understand your dismay at the loss of those little animals, but like BBG stated and you remembered, it is your garden and you do need to protect it. Perhaps others suggestions will help you find a good protective barrier for your little strawberries. My main pest right now is deer, and I use wildlife netting which has even larger holes than the bird netting.

You mentioned raised beds, but I wonder if you have read ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING? It is a great book by Mel Bartholomew and has a lot of good information and easy to follow instructions for SFG.

Please keep us updated on your progress and be sure to share pictures too!

Again, Welcome!

Furbalsmom

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Re: netting on strawberries

Post  shannon1 on 7/4/2011, 3:26 am

@GrammaAllie wrote:Wow, what quick responses, I love you guys already.

The netting that I am using is regular bird netting and the holes are only about 1/2 inch.

The problem is that the netting is so flexible that it is hard to get it secured so nothing can get under it, and it catches on the slightest splinter on the wood boxes.

I do agree for the most part with the opinion that it is MY garden and I do still want to protect it, so thank you backyardbirdgardener for reminding me of that.

staf74 and quiltbea, thank you for the pics, I love seeing what others are trying.

I will look for the lightweight insect barrier cloth. That looks to be a little more sturdy than the tiny bird netting and I think I can secure that better.

Thank you so much for your kind words and advice. I have found a place that I will be visiting often!

Allie
I love the super light insect barrier not only will it keep out the insects but the other pests as well. On top of that it harms nothing. I never considered killing the racoons that raided my garden in the past. We can out smart the smaller creatures after all, and it's our gardens they are after not us. Before I started having a Table Top gardens I used discarded broom and mop handles to sucure the SL floating row cover. I left a few extra inches on every side, layed the handles down on top of the row cover, next to the edge of the box. The inside or outside of the box, which ever you like best, and then used garden staples to hold the handles and the row cover in place. Garden staples, are also called garden pins they are long U shaped wide gage wire. You can find them at most garden or big box stores. The reason I used the broom handles, and not staples alone is it kept it in place better in high wind conditions. I wish I could post some pics but sadly I am unable to.

shannon1

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Re: netting on strawberries

Post  quiltbea on 7/4/2011, 7:56 am

shannon,
Thanks for the info on the old broom handles.
I have several 1"x2"s in the workshop ranging from 2' to 4' long. I'm sure they will work better at holding down my insect barrier sides than the bricks I use now. Thanks.

quiltbea

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Re: netting on strawberries

Post  shannon1 on 7/4/2011, 11:53 pm

Maybe bricks on top of boards :scratch: i'd like to see the wind or anything else lift that row cover up.

shannon1

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