A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blueberries and Currants Covered with Bird Netting

I often chat with people about the berries I grow here on the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes homestead.  They're usually impressed at the red currants, black currants, blueberries, and strawberries we grow, but almost always have some tale of woe at trying their hand at raising berries but not having success. 

After proper site selection, good soil, and watering, the single most important factor in whether or not you get a lot of (any kind) of berries is whether or not you install bird netting. Bird netting is a simple netting (like a fishing net) made of plastic that you drape over the bushes and keeps the birds from landing on and devouring all your berries.

Just about every bird in our area, except for maybe the bald eagles, love nothing more than ripe berries, grapes, or cherries.  Actually just about any ripe fruit is a magnet for birds, and given the chance they'll get all your fruit before you do.  I've seen Ceder Waxwings strip a large cherry tree in half a day, and given the chance birds will take all your fruit from you as well, unless you take some steps to prevent them. 
Above is the bird netting on our red currants.  Bird netting isn't installed year round, it really only has to be on the bushes for a few weeks when the fruit is ripening, then it can be removed.  It usually comes in green or black and is fairly inconspicuous, so it won't look too unsightly in the garden.  
This is the netting on our blueberry area.  The netting is held up by miscellaneous sticks that I've accumulated for just such purpose and I'll remove this all by the end of the month.

Bird netting is fairly inexpensive and lasts for several years, depending on your patience level and how neatly you store it at the end of the season.  It's definitely something that's worth every penny if you want to protect your crop.  You can check out some bird netting options here and here from eBay, or you can see what Amazon has to offer

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