Help me figure out how to actually reap the strawberries I've sown.
June 4, 2010 6:25 AM   Subscribe

I've got a strawberry patch in my backyard, but I've yet to actually get a strawberry from it. The raccoons and other varmints eat them all. What, other than sitting on the garden bench with a shotgun 24/7, is the most effective way to protect my strawberries?
posted by orange swan to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
If it's rabbits then spreading dried rabbit blood around the perimeter should keep them away. Squirrels and chipmunks are a little tougher to keep away but a cage of chicken wire should keep them away.
posted by JJ86 at 6:27 AM on June 4, 2010


I've heard that dog hair is a good repellent for most herbivores; just clean out a brush after grooming a dog (or stop by a groomer's trash can!) and pin clumps of it to the ground, mix loosely into the mulch, or make little sachets of it. Seems pretty simple to do if you've got a (friend with a) dog, but I can't swear that it works. I grow my strawberries in a hanging bag, so rodents can't get to them, but that's only good for 12 plants.

On the other hand, if it's birds, you'll have to do a mesh.
posted by aimedwander at 6:47 AM on June 4, 2010


Chicken wire (sometimes sold as 'poultry netting') or garden fencing may help. Depending on the critters in question and the size of your patch, though, you might have to go double height and security fence-style with the top of the fence bent outward at a 45ยบ angle, otherwise they'll just jump over your fence.

It may not be an economical solution, however. Chicken wire is surprisingly expensive and also kind of a pain to work with.

Is your backyard itself fenced in? Do you have a friend with an outdoor dog you could borrow for a night or two? The critters might stop prowling around after getting chased by a dog, plus the dog will leave its smell all over the place.
posted by jedicus at 6:55 AM on June 4, 2010


Putting a strawberry cage over them (staked down). It's a pain, but it's easily the best way. Raccoons are pretty intense.
posted by anaelith at 6:58 AM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


>>>I've heard that dog hair is a good repellent for most herbivores; just clean out a brush after grooming a dog (or stop by a groomer's trash can!) and pin clumps of it to the ground, mix loosely into the mulch, or make little sachets of it.

I can help you with this.
posted by spec80 at 7:35 AM on June 4, 2010


Do you have a friend with an outdoor dog you could borrow for a night or two?

Note that some dogs will eat strawberries off the plants too.
posted by mikepop at 7:40 AM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm thinking I'm going to have to build a cage. The patch is not that large at all so it's doable. In the interim before I get the cage built, I could get some cayenne pepper and sprinkle it around the bed and between the row. My internet research tells me it might help and at least it's an inexpensive and environmentally friendly solution.

Of course, if anyone has a better solution, suggest away!
posted by orange swan at 8:02 AM on June 4, 2010


I can verify that this motion-activated sprinkler works, at least as far as motion actually triggering it; I don't know whether the animals who are eating your strawberries would be the type to be bothered by it, though. I also know that when I was using one, I set it off on myself a lot more than the raccoons ever did.
posted by lakeroon at 8:25 AM on June 4, 2010


Um, are you sure that none of the "critters" are two-legged (without wings)? Because if they are, none of this is going to help.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:14 AM on June 4, 2010


Toronto varmints will be stopped by nothing less than a staked down, fine-mesh cage. Serious business.
posted by GuyZero at 9:48 AM on June 4, 2010


In the cayenne pepper vein, we keep squirrls from digging in our container garden by soaking rags in white vinegar and keeping them near the pots. The rain washes it out but vinegar is super cheap so it's no big deal to re-soak. Don't let them touch your plants, but if you've got something you can drape/hang/hook them onto it's working ok for us. Apparently it smells like predator urine. Alternatively, you could pee near (not on!) your berries.

But if you've got racoons, this is probably not enough...
posted by hungrybruno at 9:57 AM on June 4, 2010


I used one of those motion-detector spreinklers in the yard 2 years ago, and the racoons are only just coming back into the yard this year. It also caught my roommate a feww times, so it had he addaed bonus of being hilarious.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:56 PM on June 4, 2010


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