Monday, July 30, 2012

Protecting the Crop

I used to compost fabric with walnuts and berries in various locations around my yard--a favorite spot was next to a firebush not far from the patio.  Elderberry seeds made their way to the center of the bush via birds I suppose and now a very nice cluster of elderberry seedlings has grown up the center of the firebush using it for support.  Last year I discovered birds had eaten practically the whole crop--starting before berries were fully ripe.  And ripe is what I wanted then and now.  But this year I am protecting the crop.  With the help of my niece Karen, 2 ladders, a couple of broom handles, three pieces of netting connected with twisty ties and some bricks we were able to cover the entire bush.

I'm hoping the birds will not be able to land on top and feed.  They will certainly be foiled from getting the berries on lower branches. A day or two before I got the mesh, I watched a bird sit below, fly up to grab a mouthful of berries and land on the ground again.  The bush is loaded!
Berries are ripening ahead of schedule with the heat and I've harvested some, but many on top are still quite green.  The ones above look ripe from a distance but aren't quite black yet. Karen and I constructed a sort of cage with the netting weighed down by bricks on the ground so birds can't get up inside the bush to feast. The netting is so fine it can't be seen from a distance so I got up close with the camera here. You can see one of the clusters has been picked over by the birds, but don't worry, the birds won't go hungry. There are more elderberries ripening nearby at edge of my property.


  1. i practically drooled as i saw elderberries, trees and trees full of them, ripe and nodding at the side the of railway while travelling south the other day...and all out of reach.

    1. Between my house and town are a lot of elderberries and almost all of them are hanging on the edge of a ditch or ravine which would be difficult to get to. So annoying. At least mine are nicely positioned about 30 feet from my back door. I checked and those dang birds can still get to the ones on top. I'm trying to think of a way to raise the netting so the berries are out of beak reach. I need some LONG poles!!


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