Now that we had some trees removed from our yard we receive full sun, which while great for my new sarracenia and temperate drosera, is also great for some fruits and veggies. I have a pot of strawberries which are now flowering prolifically. I'm rather excited. The first strawberry of the year was just getting big, fat, and turning bright red, when, to my surprise (actually not surprised, I was warned of this beforehand, only to shrug it off), the berry disappeared. Ugh. Anyways, the pot is sitting on our deck, so I'm sure it's not squirrels or raccoons, since they never seem brave enough to come up on the deck (at least I've never seen one there,) but there we do have chipmunks. There is also a rather unruly pack of 6-8 blue jays that have been bumming around our yard, and some medium sized blackbirds with shiny feathers. I'm guessing they are probably the culprits. Someone in the neighborhood has been feeding the jays peanuts, witnessed by the peanut shells we're finding scattered throughout our yard.
How can I keep things away from my strawberry pot? I looked at netting at Home Depot, but it was $15 for a small length. I will not be getting $15 worth of strawberries out of this little plant, so I don't feel its worth dishing out that much cash. I've also heard before that if you spray your plants with a mixture of hot red pepper and water frequently, it will keep things from eating plants. Has anybody had any luck with this method, or any other methods? Preferentially ones that are not too unsightly, since my mom is a stickler for a tidy yard. (Yes, almost 23 years old and living with the parents. Not too fun.)
thanks for your help. I know I'm not the only one with this problem, so I'm looking forward to some interesting answers/help!