Last week, I posted how to protect strawberries from birds using anti-bird netting. Today I'm sharing a more permanent (but slightly more expensive) solution. Why would I want to go more expensive? Now that I know I can grow strawberries in the desert, I want a way to protect them that I don't have to redo every year. This cage is simple to remove for harvesting, weeding, and fertilizing.
Before I begin, you might notice that this cage only covers ⅓ of my strawberry plants. I bought the wrong size mesh, and I was too anxious to protect my strawberries to go back and try it! Now, I just need to make a smaller one to cover the rest of the berries.
A special thank you goes to my dad, who built this cage for me, and to my mom for supporting my website by taking pictures as he built! THANK YOU!
How to Protect Your Strawberries from Birds
Here's what you'll need:
- Leather Gloves (I learned the hard way--when I kicked a scrap that was left on the floor--that the edges of this mesh are very sharp! Don't skip the gloves!)
- Tin Snips
- Tape Measure
- Metal Ruler or Straight Edge
- Black permanent marker -- for marking where to cut
- Galvanized Mesh Garden Cloth (Buy the size that fits your strawberry patch. My cage is six inches high around the edges, and it sits on top of my square foot garden frame. That makes the top about 10 inches above the dirt. Be sure you account for the height of the cage when you choose your size. Take the area of your patch and add at least a six-inch border all the way around. If your cage will sit directly on the dirt, I'd make it a little taller.) The holes in my mesh are ¼", but ½" may work, too.
Here's how to do it!
- While wearing sturdy leather gloves (don't skip that part!), remove the single wire that the mesh is wrapped in and save it for later. Roll out the mesh.
- Measure the needed length and width for your cage, and then carefully cut the mesh to size using tin snips.
- Starting with the long edges, measure toward the middle six inches (*or whatever measurement you have chosen for the height of your cage) and mark with a permanent marker.
- Lay the metal ruler or straight edge along the fold line and carefully fold, using the ruler as a guide and a hard edge for the fold. Repeat with the other side. (I'll call these edges the sides.)
- Working with the top edge, measure down both side folds *six inches, and mark. Carefully cut down the folds with tin snips.
- Using the ruler as a folding edge. Fold the top edge over at the *six-inch mark.
- Repeat with the bottom edge.
- Carefully fold the *six-inch side pieces over the top and bottom edges to form a box.
- Using the wire you set aside at the beginning, bind the loose edge to the top by weaving the wire through the mesh.
- Repeat with the remaining three corners of the box.
That's it! You're done! Now, simply lay the box over your strawberry patch and enjoy bird-free strawberries! If you use drip lines to water your garden, you may want to cut slots in the mesh so that the irrigation tubes will fit through. I chose to leave my box as it is.
*Please be careful when you remove the box for harvesting. The bottom edges are sharp, so the mesh should not be removed by children! Also, please don't set the cage on your foot. It will hurt. Promise!
If you missed last week's strawberry protection solution, you can find it by clicking the image below:
While you're here, I hope you'll stick around and browse a little! (Images below are linked.)
Jenna @ A Savory Feast
I would love to grow my own strawberries! I always went strawberry picking each year with my cousins at a local farm. It would be fun to grow them in my own yard! This is a great tip for protecting them from those pesky birds.
I'm excited to get to eat some this year!
This is such a good idea! Thanks so much for sharing....I'm trying to grow strawberries for the first time this year! :D
Thanks, Marilyn! Good luck with the strawberries!
Rachel Kathyg @ onlinesisterhood
Thanks so much for the great tutorial (hug your sweet daddy---mine would be building this for me if he was still with us:) I pinned this...growing strawberries again are on my bucket list. found at sweet bella roos linky. Have a wonderful week.
Thanks, Rachel. I'm very grateful to have my dad nearby. Good luck with the berries!
Marie @ The Money Template
I love strawberries, in fact, every time I visited my aunt's place I always asked for a strawberry. Gloves are very important to avoid us getting harm from sharp objects.
oh yes those pesky birds they do their job but then they get into things we don't want them to love this idea definitely to protect from bird damage
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Thanks, Angie. Birds are beautiful, but they do like to cause trouble! We've spent all week trying to keep some from nesting above our front door. It's a tough job!
I would love more posts on your square foot garden and the thoughts behind why you plant things in certain spots. Glad I found your blog! Happy gardening :)
Thanks for your input, Ashley. I garden in the desert, so my square foot gardening now is a little different than mainstream America. For me, right now it's a little bit of trial and error! My area is super tough for gardening, so I try to post the things that apply to everyone. I'll definitely share more tips as I find them!
Very nice and very helpful. We put strawberries in the ground this weekend and we need to quickly follow with some covering. This looks like something I'll be tinkering with next weekend.
Thanks for sharing.
Great idea for protecting strawberries 🍓 because netting can be disastrous if birds get caught in it. Another plus of this project is no carpenter skills required!