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.)