Thursday, June 17, 2010

Food protection

What can I say... I don't like sharing my food with the birds. We had our first harvest from our strawberry patch this year and part of it we, unintentionally, shared with the birds. I wouldn't have minded it so much had they eaten the whole berry. But NO they only take a peck out of one and then move onto the next. And thus proceed to ruin half the crop of berries for that day. They then come back again the next day for the next round of ripening berries. Hmmmph! Very annoying! So my honey made a cage with chicken wire and that has (for the most part) kept those pesky birds out. BUT THEEEEN, we ran into those slimy slugs! UGH! They do pretty good damage too. But, at least they tend to eat the WHOLE berry. So quite often you'll find stems with no berry on them at all. And although I don't like sharing my berries with the slugs either, at least they are content to ruin one berry at a time per slug. Or so it seems. I did work on an old timey treatment to keep the slugs out and that was the use of crushed egg shells. I laid them out on half the strawberry bed and those berries that were on that side seems to have fared better then the ones that didn't get the eggshell treatment. So, there you go. And organic way to treat slugs! YaY! Now I just need to collect up more egg shells! (Those of you around these parts, save your shells and give them to me at church! pretty please! )

And so the strawberries are basically done for the season and we are now waiting on the blackberries. This year we have a TON of blackberries on the vines. The few that we got last year were HUGE! And since these are thornless blackberry plants they are super easy to pick. I decided to get ahead of the birds on this one and bought some bird netting to put over our plants. I saw an article (in Better Homes and Gardens? not sure about that) about how to protect your fruit crops whether trees or vines, from birds. I liked what I saw so I decided to try it here. It actually looks pretty good in an interesting sort of way.

Those are 9 ft. metal rods that are coated in a plastic. You pound those things into the ground and then place the clay pots on top of them. Then you lay the bird netting over the clay pots. I bought a 28x28 sheet of bird netting and it covered the space I had very well. I need to figure out how to weight down the netting. Right now I think it's okay because there is such an overhang that I can sort of wad it up. But, the birds are pretty stinkin' smart and they might figure out that they can walk under the netting fairly easily. (That's sort of what happens on occasion with the strawberry cage. I actually found one in the strawberry bed when I went out to take pictures of the garden today!) So anyhow... I'm thinking maybe some of those rather large metal washers. I could maybe sew them along the bottoms of the netting every few inches or so. But, let's see how it works as is, first. ;-)

So the tomatoes are coming along nicely. We've got some cherry tomatoes set already and the cucumbers are setting as well. The Arugula is pretty much done for the season. They have bolted already as has the radishes. But the other greens and lettuces are still going strong. And the carrots seem to be growing just fine as well. I'll probably pull out all the lettuces and greens by mid July if not sooner. And then I'll plant the fall crop of them at the end of August with the green beans.

And there you have it. Our summer garden. And the really good thing is that we haven't had to water the garden at all this season. At least not yet. If we don't get some rain tonight I may have to turn the water on in the garden tomorrow morning. Anyhow... not bad, not bad at all.

So how is everyone else's gardens doing?


chellebelle said...

I'm jealous, I have no garden this year, and we have not be so wet in Oregon during summer since 1984... Consider that I am taking about Oregon, we are always wet.. this year is just more so, we need some more sun for our crops... yikes! Love the bird shields!

corinnea said...

Cool stuff, hard work! I am hoping to refer back to your post for ideas when I finally get to have a garden of my very own....