Gardening · Homesteading

Building A Strawberry Cage

I’d not have built a strawberry cage when we lived in town. I can only imagine what our neighbors (and the HOA) would have had to say. But there comes a time when in rural life you must come to terms with caging your treasures. And you just use what you have on hand, and choose to not care about aesthetics. I’d rather spend that money on new plants and seeds.

I have taken growing strawberries, of all varieties, as a focus on our land for the past decade. But the last 5 years has been trying. While I fully support growing for my feathered friends (the local birds), the squirrels and the chipmunks, there comes a time when I am tired of feeding them and not me. I would like some of the harvest.

There’s a lot of frustration to find the nearly ready berries from the day before gone the next day.

At our previous home, in the suburbs, I didn’t have the pressure from as many hungry animals. Overall the deer leave strawberries alone, but not the small animals. It’s feasting season from May to September. Yes, white and yellow strawberries do throw them off, as they prefer red visually. But even that isn’t enough.

So I got to thinking. My neighbors had given me a whole bunch of dog kennel panels a few years back. We were using the majority of them to make the outer structure for the chicken run, but I had 4 sections left. Originally I had set them up to make a small run for my smaller dog to be in, while I am working (she is under 20 pounds and a target for eagles to grab her). Well…she did not like being in it and would bark non stop at the chickens. Fail there. So then I thought I’d make it into a cage for plant starts. Well….maybe not. It wasn’t big enough. I could only fit one table into it.

Then I realized I could put all the hanging pots in it, and even run 2 levels of those.

Then we laid down double cardboard on the ground to keep the grass down, dragged in a pallet. Then I went and found every pot of strawberries hanging out randomly in the beds, across the homestead, and moved them in.

Now they are overall off the ground, and in a cage, where it’s topped.

It will help lower the amount of birds on the plants.

With the strawberry plants now far away from the chicken area, we will have less squirrel presence (they eat chicken feed) and the rabbits cannot get in. But also, as the plants are above the ground, far less slugs.

I never said it looked classy. But it’s a homestead, not a Pintrest-Ready project. Things that work are the only thing that matters. And better is when I can do the project for free, on items I am recycling into yet another use.