I’ve found, now that I have no television, no Wi-Fi, and limited internet access, two things happen 1). I get frustrated, a lot, over not being able to connect to the rest of the world and 2). I find new things to do besides tv and the internet, like go outside…
Fred and I have been reading books (the real ones, like with paper and binding and stuff! Ha! I joke – we’re both avid readers) and taking advantage of the internet access that we do have to learn more about gardening, like propagation, maintenance, and pest control.
Yes, pest control. Besides the deer, we’re finding the birds are going to be a challenge to keep out of the food we have growing.
Enter “strawberry rocks.” The theory behind this is that you place the painted rocks by your strawberry plants (once they’re grown and just before the berries start to turn), all around the outside, like the rocks are growing there, and the birds will come and pick at them. Apparently the birds are either suppose to think the berries are “bad” or they think all the berries there are rocks and will leave them alone.
I already had paint and we’re certainly not at a loss for rocks, here at the property, so why not try it? I have no idea how smart birds really are but this is one way to find out, right?
Steps to painting “strawberry rocks” (this is pretty straight forward, and I’m still learning, myself, but will share the tips I’ve come up with so far):
1). What you’ll need; berry-shaped rocks (washed and dried), acrylic paint (red, white, brown, green), sealer (your choice of spray or brush-on. Just make sure it’s for outdoor use), 2 small paint brushes (one a liner or similar), & toothpicks.
2). Paint the rocks with a single coat of white. This will do two things; first it will make the red brighter and, secondly, you will need to do fewer coats of red (the first rocks I did, without first doing white, took 7 coats of red paint…oy).
3). Once the one layer of white has dried, paint them a nice cheery red (2-3 coats should do it, letting each one dry in between).
4). Paint on the green leaves (the “cap”). Don’t go too far down with them – maybe 1/5th of the way – and don’t make them so small you can’t see them from the side, either. Highlight them with other shades of green if you have it (or mix some white with green to get another shade).
5). Paint the “seeds.” (This can be a little tricky. Too many and it looks like a mutant watermelon. Too few and it doesn’t look like a berry). First, with the brown paint, paint little “pockets” for the seeds (basically, tiny vertical hash marks). When those are done and dried, using the end of the toothpick, make little white seeds for the pockets, one per pocket.
6). When the paint is dry, give them a few coats of sealer (allowing each coat to dry).
Now to wait for our strawberry plants to get bigger…