The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Wanted Dead or Alive …


Last night I received 2 bits of news, one of which made me moderately pleased, one had me incensed so much so that today my hands are still sore and tonight I need to do a lot more work to ensure my happiness.

Firstly the good news. I got to the plot last night to do some watering, nice and easy, and when I got on the plot the allotment site rep told me that he’d put my name forward in the ‘Top Plot’ allotment competition held in the area. To be honest vanity is not one of my faults, but it’s nice to be recognised. As he put it ‘it’s as good as any here and it’s all being used’.

The judging for the competition is 24th June, so if I have time I’ll give it a quick once over and get rid of some of the bigger weeds. I wouldn’t normally spend too much time doing this but there is more news.

Now for the bad news, and the one that made my blood boil. I now know what’s been eating my strawberries. A grey squirrel has been seen under the net, and I’ll be damned if I’ll give up my strawberries to any tree rat without a fight. There’s very few things that I dislike as much as grey squirrels, so control is what I must do now.

So after the news I nipped home to get some vital provisions, namely a hammer, some netting staples, a pair of pliers and wire cutters and went back to the allotment. I then proceeded to net the strawberry bed, not in the plastic mesh that had been haphazardly covering the strawberries, but now in chicken wire! Previously I thought my big foe were blackbirds so I netted the top and wound some wire round the sides, now I perceive that my enemy is the wily squirrel and so I have enclosed the whole bed in galvanised chicken wire. Hopefully it will keep the squirrel out but I have no doubt that it may get in if it can find a small gap to worm it’s way through. It looks like a marvel of modern engineering but it does have one drawback that I can think of.

This drawback, only a minor one, at the moment I can’t get in either yet. Total protection for strawberries indeed, they are definitely safe from me. It’s too small for me to crawl under so I have to do something to solve the issue. Logically there are 3 ways for me to solve the problem. I could either

1) kill all the grey squirrels in the area – a bit extreme but the strawberries will be safe
2) remove the squirrels habitat so they have to go away – I don’t think many people would be happy with mass de-forestation around the area, so this one isn’t a starter, although fun with a chainsaw.
3) Build a better cage – not cheap or easy but could have a life of a few years, also there is no guarantee of success.

So, assuming I do something (and I think we have already worked out that I will), the cage option is the one that is left to me. Really I have to either build a cage I can stand up in or just adapt the low one that I have. A six foot cage is a bit excessive for strawberries so I’ll go with the adapt the one I have.

If you think of my strawberry bed as looking like a proper bed at the moment, with a headboard and a foot board and you won’t be far off the impression. What I need to do is build some sides and a number of frames to go on the top, then cover them all with chicken wire. Another thought springs to mind, can I wire up a solar panel collector, like the ones you get in garden lights to the wire, to give a small electric shock to any evil creature intent on strawberry theft ? Probably not, it would make watering it fun though!

So I have some preliminary sketches and I am going to have a go at making it tonight. Now I’m in the Top Plot competition I may as well make a good fist of it.

Time passes and here we are on Tuesday evening. That was a long afternoon. I managed to get some time off work (for good behavior) and nipped home. i went and got some wood from Travis Perkins, and while measuring up the wood the heavens opened, and boy did it rain! The run off from the greenhouse roof filled the bucket at the bottom! Well I won’t need to water today.

I spent the afternoon making a frame and some tops, and even though it had just rained by the time I was part way through I was drenched with sweat, not very pleasant. Anyway by the time I had finished I had managed to get the frame built. It’s a bit loose in the corners for moving, so it needs a bit of embellishment for next time (using bigger nails).

the squirrel cage

I then did some tidying up and a bit of weeding without getting on the plot and decided to call it a day as I was absolutely shattered. It was back home and then time for a beer.

The plot gets judges tomorrow and I don’t think I’ll win, there are too many weeds for my liking, and there are too many other people on the site that are retired and have a lot more time than me, but at least it’s there and it’s going well. Not much more I can do so it’s time for raspberries. Food miles of nearly none.

this is what the plot looks like

So a little bit of work to do… and if Isee that pesky squirrel I’ll let you know.

More blog posts by muddy_knees

Previous post: In the Summer Time ...

Next post: The cage fighting gardener.



That looks a nice big area there Muddy, i DO feel your anger though re the squirrel and i hope your invention keeps the strawbs safe.

24 Jun, 2009


Hi Md I feel for you I have not got a squirrel problem but I do know that they are very wily as to getting into the most elaborate of protection, one to think about is they can tunnel too. A good shot of electricity sounds a good idea as it works for cattle so should work for squirrels. Good luck with the judging hope you win.

24 Jun, 2009


Oh Dear! I share your squirrel pain - my garden backs onto a forest positively crawling with the little grey suckers and after an initial period of 'oooh, so cute' my wrath soon turned to them after they devastated everything I tried to grow the first summer - nabbing strawberries that were just ripe, beautiful tomatoes and even vandalising the lillies in my patio containers - they really are a complete pest, Have been thinking about building a structure similar to yours around a raised vegetable bed, to keep them out for good! Have moved my strawberries into the growhouse where they're safe this season...
Your allotment looks fantastic - good luck with the competition!

24 Jun, 2009


Mk that is really good news and I hope you do well,even so its still recognition of your hard work.fingers xx your squirrel cage works especially as I really dont want to hear of a chap being arrested for cruelty or vandalisation of local trees and hedges or even worse wielding a deadly weapon on his allotment,lol.....

24 Jun, 2009

Add a comment

Recent posts by muddy_knees

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    20 May, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Jun, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    10 Nov, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    21 Jun, 2009