Gardeners will go to extraordinary lengths, sometimes, to prevail over Mother Nature.
Exhibit A: The Blueberry Fortress
I like blueberries, but I live with someone who LOVES blueberries. I can’t grow many food crops because of the deep shade that covers most of my garden, but in this 15′ square little plot off the edge of our deck, I manage to grow three little blueberry bushes. The rest of the space is a large nursery bed for everything else I’ve acquired but don’t know where to put.
Blueberries are a painless plant to grow, but saving the fruit from our woodland neighbors is not so easy. In the past I have put up tall tomato stakes and attached netting to them, but my technique with this equipment is insufficiently refined. Tired of entangling myself in bird netting every time I wanted to harvest, I knew when I saw this article in a recent issue of Fine Gardening, I had to act.
The walk-in cage (that doesn’t sound dodgy at all, does it?) is made of 8 lengths of 8 1/2′ long, 1/2-inch PVC pipe, joined at the top by a 90-degree elbow. The uprights are anchored in 1-foot lengths of 1-inch PVC, hammered into the ground. The bird netting is anchored onto the frame with twist-ties. The whole edifice cost less than $20 at the local hardware store, and the only tools I needed were a hammer and a small saw.
When I presented The Fortress to the blueberry aficionado-in-residence, all he said was, “Wow.” It didn’t sound like the awe-stricken “Wow” I was hoping for. It sounded similar, actually, to the “wow” I got when, eleven years ago, the same Aficionado came home from a late-evening grad school class to find a 9-week-old sitting happily in his swing, having not napped for 17 hours, and I, lying on the floor, laughing ridiculously to a Baby Einstein foreign language video, greeted him with a hearty “Konichiwa!”
If it’s going to be like that, we’ll see who gets the blueberries on her cereal.
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