Monday, June 11, 2012
Tips for Keeping Animals Out of Your Vegetable Garden
There is nothing that frustrates me more than going out to pick some fresh produce from my garden only to find that some critters have already eaten some of the ripest and juiciest pieces! The biggest culprits in my garden are chipmunks, although I have the occasional bunny that makes an appearance as well. Since I have a fence, the deer, raccoons, and other large animals usually head to my neighbor's house for easier pickings.
There are many ways to keep small animals out of your garden without harming them. I might not want the chipmunks to eat my garden plants, but I don't necessarily want to hurt them either! Here are a few ways to scare critters away:
1. To prevent cats from using your garden as a litter box, use natural scents and products to deter them. Scatter orange and lemon peels in the garden or spray with citrus-scented spray. Coffee grounds and pipe tobacco also work well to repel cats. Others have also suggested lavender oil, lemon grass oil, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil and mustard oil.
2. To deter deer and raccoons, fill a spray bottle with water and add lots of hot sauce. To know how much, taste it yourself! If you think it is spicy you are on the right track. Now, spray your vegetables with it and keep in mind that you will have to reapply after it rains.
3. Use a physical barrier when possible. You can buy a mesh covering at the garden center or hardware store or use wire cages for larger animals. Make sure to bring the netting all the way to the ground so animals can't reach the food from underneath. With mesh, the plants can still gather the sunlight and water they need but the animals are kept at bay.
4. Tie strings to aluminum cans or pie plates and hang them around your garden. The noise and shiny metal often scares animals away.
5. If you only have one or two animals that you know are a problem, consider a humane trap. You can use a catch and release trap and then let them go in a rural area that is away from your home.
6. Moles don't eat your garden plants but their tunnel system can destroy a plant's ability to get enough nutrients from the soil. You can put moth balls in their holes as a deterrent or fill in the tunnels.
While animals in the garden can be a bother, there is no reason to poison them to keep them away! Humane methods work if you are persistent!
What animals do you find in your garden? Have you found a creative way to make them leave?