Monday, July 1, 2013

Strawberry Warfare

The strawberries were beginning to ripen, and the raccoons were keeping as close an eye on them as I was myself, checking them every night (as footprints indicated). In an attempt to fool them, I stretched a light nylon net over the strawberry plants, stapled it to pieces of lumber all around the bed. Then on top of the net, I stapled some "row cover", the fleece-like fabric especially made for gardens. The idea of the row cover was to hide the berries from sight. I reasoned that perhaps if they did not see them, they would forget about them. It has worked much better than I expected.

For several days, they did not pay any attention to the bed. One night they walked all over the row cover. In the morning you could see their muddy footprints on the fabric, but they had left the bed alone.

I started picking the ripe berries and was quite satisfied with myself.  A few nights ago, however, they took the row cover off, probably smelling the ripe berries. But, to my great surprise, they did not remove the net. Perhaps they have had bad experiences with nets? It would have been relatively easy for them to tear a hole in it. It is nylon, but not very sturdy (a dollar store net). For whatever reason, they decided to leave the net well alone.

The next morning, I picked every strawberry that looked ripe or " ripenable", re-stapling the net and row covers in place, and it seems to have worked! They have so far left the whole set-up alone. Of course, now there is no smell of ripe berries, all the ripe berries having been  removed.

I am very surprised that this approach has worked so far. Raccoons are not usually easily fooled. For instance they are experts at getting the bait out of a live trap without getting caught.  Last year I attempted something similar to save my grapes. I wrapped each bunch in a paper bag (the out of sight out of mind principle). They just laughed at me - ripped the bags off and ate the grapes as they ripened! I will try the plastic netting this year as they seem to tread more carefully around it.


  1. Very inventive of you Alain! It'll be interesting to see if it works with the grapes. The strawberries look lovely.

  2. Excellent discovery. Raccoons are too smart by half.

  3. At least it's only birds and slugs that we have to worry about stealing strawberries.


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