Checking out the garden this morning I discover that it has been visited by one of my nemeses: a chipmunk. Resting on the greenhouse wall next to the strawberry patch is a half-chewed, unripened strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa). Such a totem heralds the beginning of predation and fewer if any future berries to savor and consume if nothing is done.
Wasting no time I enlist Juana to help me set up netting around our two strawberry patches. The one on the greenhouse foundation is the easiest to enclose as its concrete sides act as a a natural barrier that is easy to enclose.
I get my staple gun to attach the net to the wooden fence frame that keeps larger predators out of the upper vegetable garden. I notice many rusty staples still in the wood from past years and efforts that I have been too lazy to remove. But there is still plenty of places to attach the thin netting.
After attaching the netting to the back fencing, Juana and I stretch it out over the edge of the greenhouse foundation, holding it down with bricks. The same happens on the sides and the front of the bed, where I attached two pieces of wood to maintain a height of netting above the berries. Other bricks and stones hold down the netting, veiling our berries in a protective shield.
The lower patch is less protected as we just place netting on top of the berries trying our best to discourage chipmunks, birds and others looking for a tasty treat. It usually works pretty well as chipmunks with commando training that would thwart our barrier by crawling on their bellies have yet to visit.
Now protected, we await the first ripe berry.