Gardening Magazine

Making a Strawberry Cage

By Mwillis
Lots of my Strawberry plants are beginning to set their first fruits now, so it won't be long before they deliver their harvest.
Making a Strawberry cage
When you only have a few Strawberries, every one is precious, so you need to cover them with nets of some sort. If you don't the birds (and in my case probably the squirrels) will grab the fruit before you can harvest them.
My few Strawberry plants are in black plastic crates, so they are easily moved around the garden when necessary. They are also relatively easy to protect. This is my method...
I use bits and pieces left over from previous generations of plastic mini-greenhouses - metal rods and plastic corner-pieces. The corner-pieces are especially useful, and I would never throw one of these away unless it were broken!
Making a Strawberry cage
I assemble a cube-shaped structure, like this:
Making a Strawberry cage
I would prefer the structure to be lower, but I don't have any short rods. Hmmm, maybe I should cut some up?? No, that's a bad idea, because I will need long ones for when I use the same approach for Blueberries.
The structure is then placed over the conveniently-arranged plastic crates. Notice that mine have been put in a position that provides dappled shade, with not a lot of direct sunlight. This area gets sunshine first thing in the morning, and then again in the evening, from the opposite direction. This helps to prevent them drying out too rapidly. I still water the containers very frequently during the flowering and fruiting season though.
Making a Strawberry cage
The final part of the procedure is to cover the structure with a suitable net, and weigh it down with bricks, making sure that the net is well away from the plants.
Making a Strawberry cage
It's important to use a net which does not have too fine a mesh, because you still want the pollinating insects to be able to get in.
Just a final thought: have you noticed how much of what I write on this blog is about protecting my plants from pests? Scary, isn't it?

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