Netting the blueberries was the big garden task of the weekend. Between the heat, the thunderstorms, adventures with visiting grandson Tynan, picking raspberries and preparing to host the Heath Gourmet Club on Saturday night, this job kept getting postponed. Finally, on Sunday, with the sun shining and a deliciously cool breeze blowing, we set to. The berries are just starting to ripen here at the End of the Road, but the birds are starting to circle.
We planted our blueberry bushes at least 27 years ago. For many years we just threw nets over them to keep the birds away, but we finally got smart and built a PVC pipe cage. The cage covers the five bushes that are planted in a straight line. If we had thought of the necessity and practicality of a netted cage we would have planted the bushes in a block.
Black plastic netting goes over the pipe supports and is tied in place with twistees. In the photo above you can see that two large bushes live outside the cage, providing a few early berries for us, and many berries for the birds. I may not supply the birds with sunflower and thistle seeds, but I do provide a good supply of blueberries.
The netted berries supply us with a long season of freshly picked berries that do not have to be picked daily the way raspberries do. They are the most considerate of berries, hanging on the bush for days without rotting or spoiling. In fact they are considerate of the gardener’s labor as well. Once these bushes were planted in our naturally acid soil, they have not needed any other care. I occasionally cut out small dead branches; that is the only pruning required.
I pick my blueberries at my leisure and enjoy the these healthiest of fruits in the summer, and through the winter, pulling bags of them out of the freezer. At my leisure.