Beating the Birds to Your Berries
One of my favourite parts about living on a “farm” is harvesting my own food. I particularly enjoy harvesting the fruits I grow: apples, pears, blackberries, raspberries. And while I love that all of these foods also provide nourishment to birds, rodents, and bats, sometimes it’s nice to keep a little for myself. A day late to the raspberry patch and I’ve missed out for the year. Here are a few options for covering your berry bushes (and even your small fruit trees).
The main culprit to an empty berry bush is birds. Think about it: these bushes produce delicious, juicy berries with seeds, the future of berries, buried within. Birds are their main method of procreation. When you’d like to keep them out, there are a few options, the most simple being flash tape.
Flash tape is exactly what it sounds like: flashy tape. You can get foil tape at any home improvement store. Put up a few stakes and attach the tape, doubling back over the adhesive to avoid it sticking to itself, rendering it useless.
If your birds aren’t scared off by the noise and shininess of foil tape, consider netting. Now, there are number of different kinds available and your final decision will come down to your aesthetic preference. Black and white netting is available and they both come in a range of sizes to accommodate your berry patches. Remember that if you choose to go this route, you must be diligent in checking the net for trapped birds since small ones can weasel their way in but may have a hard time getting out.
In lieu of netting, try shade cloth. You’ll have to do some searching around as it’s not as popular as bird netting but it is out there. Shade cloth doesn’t snag quite as much as bird netting and it works well to keep out other unwanted guests like the dreaded Japanese beetle and stink bugs. Remember that your berry flowers need to be pollinated and the berries should be allowed to ripen slightly. It’s the sun and heat that ripen your fruit so covering it too early can lead to later ripening times and fruit that isn’t quite as sweet.
Finally, plant enough for all of you, if you have the option. And add a bird bath to the area. There is growing belief that birds often go to the berry bushes in search of liquids so offering them water may fill them up to the point where your berries aren’t really number one on their list anymore.
Have you had success with any of these or other methods? Send us a reply at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win 4 packs of Mark’s Choice veggie seeds.