Wednesday, 31 December 2008

fig wars two: alexa strikes back

I got tired of birds eating my figs the day before they were fully ripe, so I tried once again to net the tree.  First I strung a full net along the back side of the tree, tying it on securely.  But I didn't actually think that would do much - they just had to fly in from the other side and they'd be under the net eating my figs.  So I got creative and made net booties. have my friend Heather to thank for this idea.  Apparently in Queensland they make mesh bags you tie over banana bunches to protect them from fruit bats.  I asked at the B-store and they didn't sell anything like that, so I made some myself.  I took a second bird net and cut out some large squares, then stitched together one side with outdoor twine.  I dragged them over the ends of branches with figs that were near-ripe, then closed the end around the branch. be honest, it's a pain in the bum.  Each of those bags has one, maybe two figs in it - a lot of work for just a few fruit.  But that's just the breba crop.  On the tips of those branches are another 3 or 4 of the main crop which will ripen in the autumn.  So if this works, I can either keep them on all summer, or take them off now and re-use them closer to the autumn.

Unfortunately one bag has failed so far.  It wasn't closed all the way and the fig was awfully close to another branch, so either a bird climbed inside the bag or just pecked it through the netting. the rest of the bags seem to be working.  Here's one of my beauties - it looks ripe but I'm going to give it one more day.  I think it's safe, or else it would have been pecked open by now.  Next to it are two of the autumn crop slowly ripening.

I can't wait to try them.