Freeman and Melinda Barton became very, very, tired of carefully nurturing their blueberry plants only to have the birds eat them before they could harvest enough for a pie! So, Freeman got busy and planned his attack! Here’s how he outsmarted the birds in his back yard!
The shade house consists of a 2 x 4 frame of pressure treated lumber on the ground, 3/4″ PVC pipe arched side to side and specially ordered shade cloth draped over the top and secured with grommets! The PVC was stuck over re-bar that was pounded into the ground every two feet. The “house” is 12 feet by 24 feet. The shade cloth had to be special ordered from the Greenhouse Mega Store since that’s the only way to get 40 percent shade cloth. Only 50-70 percent shade cloth was available locally and that’s a little too shady. You can find it at www.greenhousemegastore.com
The berries, that used to be eaten as soon as they were ripe, are now safe and secure. The blueberies were grown in half barrels the last few years and only moved into the protective “house” when the berries began to ripen this year. The first six years they were in the ground but the gophers got them! The barrels have 1/4″ hardware cloth over the drains in the bottom or they would have them now too! They are in sun most of the day and watered with a drip system 5 minutes a day. They keep the soil acid with Jobes soil acidifier.
Once they stop producing, the shade cloth will be removed and they will again be “outside” to grow until next year when the greedy birds once again have to be kept at bay!
Melinda and “Boomer” now pick all the ripe berries and store those they don’t eat in the freezer for treats all winter. Too bad for the neighborhood birds!
Glad I know these guys…I’m looking forward to those blueberry pies!