A hedgerow provides a barrier between the neighbor’s field and our yard. One side of the hedgerow borders my garden. Even with a width only of approximately 15 feet, it shelters many animals. We see rabbits, groundhogs, foxes in the nearby field, and birds. So. Many. Birds. It’s peaceful to weed and listen to their chirping.
We’ve seen woodpeckers, pileated and downy, goldfinches, cardinals, bluebirds, hawks, crows, even a bald eagle nearby…not to mention the numerous sparrows, robins, and red-winged black birds. The list goes on…
I love that these creatures share our property, but when I plant food, I want to eat it. I have been known to chase a chicken after she poked a hole in my first red pepper of the season. I wonder how many of my neighbors heard the crazy woman screaming, “Bar-be-que!”
That little experience influenced the installation of my first garden fence.
We now live in a different location, but part of the fence has stayed. I think I’m afraid to take it down, not knowing whether the rabbits will destroy my months of indoor seed-starting during their overnight buffet.
Last year, in addition to a fence, I put bird-netting over my strawberries. It kept most of the birds away, but a few got caught in it. We released the ones we could save. This year, I haven’t put the netting over them…yet.
I left the winter row covers partially attached. They may have deterred birds by hiding the berries. So far, I’ve lost only a few berries to birds. Is the netting worth it? Maybe not for full grown strawberries that have an abundance of leaves to hide the deliciousness.
But our blueberries told a different story. I experimented last year and didn’t cover our bushes. I thought the birds would get some but leave most of them. The berries hung on the plants, promising our first nice crop since planting them. (Blueberries take several years to mature.) Blue tinged the edges of the berries. Then, just before they were ready to pick and pop in our mouths, the birds ate them. Every. Single. One.
Conclusion? Cover blueberries unless you want to feed the birds with those plump morsels. I don’t.
Strawberries can go either way.
Fences deter rabbits, groundhogs AND hungry chickens. I keep the back half of my garden fenced because it’s so close to the hedgerow.
What are some of the ways you combat critters in your garden? Please share in the comments below.