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Do you net your blueberries?

I've been building a small collection of blueberry bushes for the last couple of years. Some bought this year, and a couple last year or the year before. It seems I may get a small harvest this year, and i had my first spoonful of blueberries with breakfast this AM.

But this morning I also spotted a guilty-looking bird flying back into the Pyracantha heap at an altitude of 6 inches, like one of those Russian helicopters in Ukraine.

I have also lost about 6 of the 7 blackberries on the Black Butte plant bought last year, which is also looking vigorous for next year.

Can anyone give me wisdom on netting blueberries - is it necessary, and does everyone do it?

My eventual intention that (South) side is a deep, open veranda which will let me grow fruit and just net the whole thing for the summer if necessary.

Thanks

Ferdinand
“Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
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  • scrogginscroggin KentPosts: 112
    If I don't net my blueberries the birds ( mainly pigeons) have the lot, for me this is the case with all the currants too. Strangely they don't bother my raspberries or strawberries!
    Last year I neglected to net my blueberries etc and had hardly any fruit, even though there was a lot of fruit on the bushes. This year I made sure I netted and have had a fantastic crop.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,567
    We found the blackbirds were helping themselves to the ripe ones early in the morning ... the bushes are right in front of the kitchen window and the birds don't usually come quite so close during the day ... and OH goes out and picks the ripe ones every evening ... but I bet we lose a few  ... 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,102
    I grow mine in a veg cage with netting - great harvest this year :)
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,554
    I haven’t netted anything in my garden since a heartbreaking affair with a strangled baby robin.

    I have six blueberry bushes in pots, quite close to the house. The moment I see a purple blush begin to appear on the fruits (and it happens remarkably quickly during the day) I pick the individual berries. I put them on a plate in the kitchen and by the following day they are almost ripe and the day after that they are ready.

    I have just cooked some up with some blackcurrants and made some delicious jam.

    I have three blackcurrant bushes. Some years the birds decide to eat them, some years not. This year I was lucky and they left them for me. Pounds and pounds of them and not a net in sight.

    I can’t say the same for the red currants though. Every summer they host a berry festival par excellence for every kind of berry eating bird you can imagine. But I really only grow the bushes as a screen so I don’t mind.

    The gooseberry bushes are almost ready and any night now the badgers will be round tearing off the branches/doing a bit of heavy duty pruning. No amount of netting would stop that lot anyway.🙂
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • EustaceEustace OxfordPosts: 1,139
    I was able to harvest a few blueberries today morning. Like @pansyface mentioned above, I try to pick as soon as there is a hint of blue on them. Still, the blackbirds have the most as they are not netted. I have seen the birds doing a stripping action with their beaks, cleanly stripping and scattering all the berries, small and big, in a twig.
  • Ferdinand2000Ferdinand2000 Posts: 537
    edited 14 July
    Thanks all.

    Yes it was a blackbird. Despite the biblical plague of cats around here.

    So, harvest at night and obtain some Stinger AA Missiles.

    Interested to hear that they will ripen off the bush. That *is* useful to know.

    Ferdinand
    “Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,086
    I grew blueberries in our last garden and ended up netting them after finding the birds nicked them before they were ripe enough for us.   It's important to use a structure of some sort so that the netting is taught and doesn't get birds tangled in it.

    Too hot and dry to grow them here but, to my delight, I have found I can buy frozen native blueberries which are just like the moorland bilberries I remember from my youth in Lancashire and Cheshire.   
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,554
    Are those the myrtilles sauvages by Picard? We get them here from Ocado. I call them the savage Myrtles. I have a vision of an old woman wielding a large knife. 😁
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,086
    Yes @pansyface.  Sauvage means wild.  Much better than the big fat American berries.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • dappledshadedappledshade Top of the Hill, North London Posts: 982
    pansyface said:
    Are those the myrtilles sauvages by Picard? We get them here from Ocado. I call them the savage Myrtles. I have a vision of an old woman wielding a large knife. 😁
    Oh my goodness, I’m obsessed with those myrtilles sauvages!!
    Absolutely delicious cooked into porridge, or sprinkle into Bircher muesli.
    I have a bag in my freezer at all times.

    Also have two sunshine blueberry bushes in large pots on the patio. No netting required - the presence of our two cats means the bushes stay intact.

    Those blueberries are nice to pick off in the morning and chuck into my cereal. They’ve taken far longer to ripen this year though - summer 2020 was insane! A handful every day, from May onwards!

    I never netted even pre cats, to be honest, after seeing several insects killing themselves in it. Baby bird must’ve been horrible… 
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