We have nice big strawberry plants and some berries are getting ripe; but we keep finding that part of the berry has been eaten, and Bobby suspects that it might be slugs, which seem to show up here in the spring when the ground is damper. I thought that putting a mulch around the bottom might help, since it not only protect the roots and helps keep the soil moisture in the ground; but it might also deter the strawberry-munchers. It is possible that the birds are eating the berries; but we have not seen any birds in the strawberry patch. We thought about getting a bag or two of mulch chips from Walmart garden center; but then I remembered that we have all of that pine-straw that we just rake up and put in the garbage. Apparently, pine-straw makes a perfect (and free) mulch for not only the strawberries; but also around the tomatoes and pepper plants; plus it is supposed to deter slugs since they do not like crawling over the sharp pine needles. So, today, I will start raking up some of the pine needles and arranging them around the berries and the tomatoes and peppers.