I have a container garden that sits in my backyard, but live across the street from a park and I don't have a fence. I've been fortunate in that the local birds, bugs, and other little critters leave my strawberries alone, but the larger, two-legged pest has been a problem. Just as my berries get ripe, they disappear. I'm sure it's a human because the stem looks picked.
I've thought of making it more difficult for them by covering my pots with chicken wire. I've also thought of some kind of animal repellent or bad tasting spray like Bitter Apple to deter them from future pickings, but I worry about that being absorbed by the strawberries. Do you think if I started spraying it just before the fruit ripens it'll still absorb the taste? Would I be able to wash it off? Does anyone have any other ideas?
I'm new to gardening, so this has been really disappointing.
(Slight rant: The person doing this has to walk around some bushes, onto my property, and across my driveway or across my lawn, so it's not even a matter of seeing a ripe berry and having an impulsive moment. Grrrr.)