Thursday, March 26, 2009

We have a thief in our midst

I have two little strawberry plants that are growing in two pots in my garden and are actually doing really well. I have one big beautiful strawberry on one of the plants and two little ones on the other plant that were ready to be picked yesterday morning. I've been watching them turn from white to pink and finally almost all the way to a bright beautiful red.



Yesterday morning I got up excited that it was berry-picking day - I am well-aware that picking three strawberries hardly warrants naming a day "berry-picking day" but we're just that desperate. I skipped out to the garden to get them and was so excited that this was going to be one of the first things we'd actually be able to eat from the garden. I went out there and reached down and…

And…



Son of a . . .

Well I'm sure the two little red berries on the other plant are safe, right? Right?

GAAAHHH!. . . not so much.

Some evil creature of the night sunk his fangs into the berries and gave me the salute of victory as it scampered off with my three red strawberries in its clutches. What sort of evil creature did such a thing? A shifty-eyed squirrel that taunts our dog every morning is my primary suspect. Plus there's that evil mockingbird that chirps away in the tree next to the garden. They're both on my list now.

I'm tempted to tie the German Shepherd to the strawberry plants at night to protect them, but he's a soft dog that requires a feather-stuffed dog bed and air conditioning and with my luck he'd develop a taste for strawberries and fall under the spell of the berry-loving creatures of the night and end up working for the enemy.

What can I do to stop this? Anyone have an idea for me?? There are three more white berries on the plant that will inevitably be the next victims of this sinister creature now that he has tasted their sweet juice. How can I save my berries? Do I have to keep them on the patio from now on?

Update: Went out to the garden this morning. Now all the little white berries are gone. You can see that they've been eaten. I bet those damn squirrels have been waiting patiently for something in the garden to grow and now it's their morning breakfast stop. Sigh...

12 comments:

Cheryl said...

Don't you just hate squirrels!!!

My master gardener friend said they had a squirrel that ate everything in the yard whenever he felt like it until he ate a habanero pepper. He said the squirrel took a bite, dropped the pepper and ran up a tree and then fell out of the tree.

I know they say you can sprinkle dry cayenne pepper on the plants or where the squirrels travel and it won't affect your veggies, but I'm wondering if you can make a spray with the habanero and spray where they go. You do have to be careful handling the peppers. Use gloves. They're known as the hottest peppers.

Dani said...

Wrapping it in bird netting might work.

Do you mind if I put you on my blog roll?

Darla said...

That sucks!

Kate and Crew said...

Cheryl - wouldn't the rain or sprinkler or just the morning dew cause the pepper stuff to wash off? That is a good idea though... Hmmm....

Dani - Bird netting - hope you can buy that at Home Depot or Lowe's. I'll look for it. Thanks! And I'd love to be added to your blog roll - thanks for that too!!

Darla - yes...sucks indeed...hmph.

Daphne said...

My chipmunks are evil beings and eat my tomatoes. So I wrap the bottom of the tomato cages in bird netting. Problem solved. They hate the stuff. They get their little paws tangled. Though I do warn you they can get permanently caught in the stuff. I had that happen one year. I came back from vacation to a dead chipmunk in the bird netting.

Hannah said...

I third the netting. We don't have squirrels here (weird I know) but the birds have a field day with my strawberries and tomatoes.

I would get so mad last year with my first time ever growing tomatoes. They would start to turn red and then there would be a perfect beak-shaped hole in all of them. Grrr!

kimchi said...

I just ordered strawberry crowns this year and didn't even think about thieves. I am glad I read your post b/c now I am going to get some bird netting. Who knew this gardening thing would be such a war between man vs. beast? BTW - we LOVE the Guess what? Chicken butt t-shirts. I am going to have to get myself one of those!

badgerpendous said...

I built a cage around our veggie boxes several years ago because our yard is like a highway for squirrels and a landing strip for bluejays.

Now that we have our "flock" (3 hens) of Urban Chickens, the cage is indispensable!

Makes it hard to add more growing space, though. Best of luck with the garden this year!

whiterice said...

My guess....the darn squirrels. kimchi ordered our plants last fall...should be here any day now. I appreciate learning this lesson now through your misfortune :( Darn squirrels.

engineeredgarden said...

Kate, have you seen any crows around? They love strawberries, too...

EG

Cheryl said...

You do have to reapply the pepper after it rains. The theory is that you teach the squirrels your yard has bad tasting veggies and they should go down the street.

Looks like the bird netting works, though. It just involves finding it and buying it.

StephieK said...

I thought our strawberries were being attacked by squirrels too, but it was mourning doves. My husband built a little chicken wire hutch to set on top of the box and it worked! We have been getting great berries.

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