When it comes to the garden plants, my cat isn't the only animal that I need to be worried about. Outside there are raccoons, groundhogs, skunks, opossums, foxes, deer, and many birds that are watching my garden to see what is ripe and ready for the taking! Last year, the critters ate a lot of my garden! The first major front that needs defending this year are the strawberries. It looks like it is going to be a great crop!
We planted these strawberries last year using the hill method. The hill method for strawberries is not mounding up the dirt, or planting on top of small hills. We planted one long row of strawberry plants and then meticulously cut the runners back as the plants sent them out. We didn't let any daughter plants form like you would in a matted row system. So much energy stays in the main plant that the plant grows twice as big as they would with the matted row method. The plants grow to be two feet tall! Since there is only a single row of plants, the plant "looks like" a hill, which is why it is called the hill method.
So now that last year's work is paying off and I have many green strawberries ready to ripen, there is no way I'm going to let the animals have them! Tonight, as it was getting dark I gathered up some scrap wood, a hammer and nails, the roll of flexible fence that I recently bought, and the garden shears (for clipping back the runners) and got to work.
I built a little wood trellis down the center of the strawberry bed.
I then stapled the flexible fence to the landscape timbers on one side and stretched the fencing up over the wood trellis. On the other side I stapled the fence to removable scrap boards. This formed a little temporary A-frame fence.
I'm pretty sure this will keep the animals out. The only thing left to be concerned with are slugs. I haven't seen any on the strawberries yet but I have found some on the lettuce. I plan to put out saucers of beer to attract the slugs when the berries ripen.
It is crazy how defensive you have to be with food gardening. I am looking into what it would take to put an electric fence around the entire perimeter of the garden. That would take care of everything but the deer. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself with this though. Tonight, I can sleep a little easier knowing that my strawberries can now ripen in peace. I can hardly wait.
I'm off to bed to dream about....Strawberry Shortcake!