Two years ago, I planted a bed of strawberries at the back of the yard. I have a very nice terraced far back yard, where I grow vegetables and wine grapes. It’s quite large. Before we moved here, that area was a jungle of obnoxious plants clinging to boulders that were bigger than my head. The first thing I insisted Mr. Demonic do was to hire a landscaper to try and tame that mess. Each year has been a struggle, but finally this year it’s less of an fight to dig up weeds. You can see my terrace on Google maps. Of course, you can also see my dirty car and the equally filthy patio table on Google maps. (What an invention!)
I lined the back fence with wine grapes, and planted the strawberries right under the grapes. My plan was to have enough of a strawberry crop to (someday) to make jam.
Last year, my attempts at Strawberry Heaven were thwarted by squirrels. The squirrels in my neighborhood are not your normal, run-of-the-mill cute and furry animals. They are descendants from Satan and monster rats. This area is overpopulated by the glorified rodents. The squirrels in my neighborhood eat everything, including tomatoes and zucchini. They also have a passionate love affair with my strawberries.
This spring, as I was applying a dose of MiracleGro to my garden, I thought to myself that there must surely be a way to undermine the squirrel attack. My strawberry plants are healthy and thick. It’s a crying shame that I have yet to taste one delectable homegrown berry.
With renewed vigor, I made a trek to the local nursery. I perused the shelves for anti-squirrel venom (otherwise known as fox or coyote pee), and snagged a bottle of elixir to spread around the area. I also picked up a couple of packages of netting with which to surround my tender fruits.
Once home, I encased the entire area in a double layer of netting, top to bottom. My husband came by to see what I was doing. When he learned that I was using the netting, he had a mini-fit. Twenty years ago, in another house, I had a nice strawberry garden, similar to the one I have now. I had the same problem with squirrels in that neighborhood (and woodchucks, and ‘possums, and other creatures). I used netting to cover my berries. It was effective. I had quarts and quarts of strawberries, which was a good thing, because I was pregnant at the time and one of my cravings (besides Orange Crush) was strawberries.
One morning back at the old place, I went to harvest my bucket of berries, and found a squirrel hopelessly strangled in the netting. Yes, he/she was dead. I didn’t feel badly. (So shoot me.) I’m sure the critter had a strawberry grin on his face. What better way to leave this planet?
Yesterday afternoon, I picked my first bowl of strawberries. The fruit was uber-delicious. So far, no squirrels have been harmed in the harvest of my strawberries, but I’m not going to feel bad if any are. After all, the season is still young.