Strawberry bed protection
I have a pair of strawberry beds located outside the fenced garden. They are doing really well considering that we haven't seen the sun (it seems) in weeks.
However, as the berries start to ripen, and even as the plants get more 'tasty', I'll need to protect them from deer, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and mice.
Last year I covered both beds with Agri-Bond row covers. The benefit is that these provide a complete blanket to keep the squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and birds out. The downside is that they filter a lot of light that could go towards ripening the berries.
Choice two is to go with bird netting. This has the downside of potentially allowing the little #%*#!!% to chew through the netting (as the chipmunks do with my blueberries), wiggle through if they are small enough or eat what they can reach by landing on top or stepping near. Another issue is that I have had small animals become tangled in the past which is a bother to them and me.
Next year I'd like to get a mesh box built with hinged covers. Even then I'd need to decide on a hole size which could allow the bees in but keep out the mice, etc.
Thoughts? The kids are looking forward to ripe, unmolested berries.