Wild Black Raspberries
Realization Of The Day (well, yesterday really):
There was definitely a sweet side to yesterday's hot, sweaty, and exhausting Hay Pick Up Day #1. The black raspberries along the edge of the hayfield have begun to ripen, and it looks like there will be enough this year for several handfuls of the sweet and dainty fruits. The majority weren't ripe yet, but I did manage to find a few perfect ones to pop into my mouth.
I'll be back out picking up bales again tomorrow and will definitely be checking on their progress. I'd never even heard of black raspberries until I moved to Missouri. Then it was so many years before I actually saw some that I was beginning to doubt their existence. Boy was I missing out. Since we don't tend the bushes at all, our harvest is always small. Just enough to really, really enjoy these once-a-year, exquisite little treats.
Out Of My Inbox:
Bird Netting Question From A Reader
Melissa at Flatlander (who did the opposite of what I did--moved from the Midwest to California) sent me a gardening question that I am ill-equipped to answer--thank goodness! Birds are (knock on wood) one of the few pests that don't manage to help themselves to an ample portion of my precious garden bounty each year (though I think they do dine on the black raspberries). But she has a problem with them and is desperately trying to find a rational solution. I told her I couldn't help, but that I bet some of you would be able to (especially after receiving so many suggestions on what to do with my lemon thyme--thank you!). And perhaps those of us who haven't been attacked by The Birds yet will be able to store this knowledge away for when the inevitable happens. I'll let her explain the situation:
I have a gardening question for you. Last year, I had problems with the birds eating my tomatoes. I don't want to use any "scare" techniques because I'm happy to have birds in my yard (just not in the tomatoes), so I've purchased some bird netting to defend my garden. I've been scouring books and the internet, but I have yet to find informative instructions or advice on the best way to install the netting. I'm sure there must be a good way to set it up so that I can still access the plants.
Here's what I'm thinking so far: I could make a frame for the netting, cover the garden, and install some type of door or flap on one or two sides (which I could open and close) so I could get inside the netting & access the beds. The beds (there are 3 side by side) are about 6' x 16' (total size). And I think staked tomatoes (I have indeterminates and determinates) get pretty tall, at least 5' right? But my concern is that the frame would be ridiculously large, but maybe it wouldn't be. I think I'd have to do some sewing with fishing line, and maybe attach the netting to the frame with zip-ties? I'm not really sure what would work best, but I am sure that I don't want giant holes being ripped through the netting. I'm also wondering the best way to anchor the netting to the ground. Anyway, those are the possible problems I'm imagining.
Do you have any advice or suggestions or pictures of what's worked for you? ANY information would be well received!
I think her frame idea sounds good but awfully complicated (and possibly expensive), though I have seen photos of a fairly large blueberry patch that had a wire cage built around the entire thing. (The blueberries were a cash crop, so all precautions were worth the trouble and expense.)
Your ideas? Suggestions?