Gardening is a rewarding pastime that requires a lot of hard work. It takes months of tender loving care for your fruits and vegetables to ripen. Finding that your plants have been eaten or damaged by wildlife after so much time is a truly disheartening experience. Try implementing the following tips to stop animals from raiding your garden.
Cover Your Plants
Covering your plants with row covers or netting will help prevent flies and wildlife from getting inside. They will also continue to let the sunshine in. You can purchase these in hardware stores or online. Ultrafine mesh covers are great for keeping rodents out.
For bonus protection, consider building a raised garden bed. The higher it is off the ground, the better. Skunks will have a hard time climbing into the bed, and you can stop rodents from digging underneath by lining them with mesh. You can also install hinged covers that you can open and close when gardening. Raised beds are great for city gardening and extend the length of the growing season by keeping the soil warm.
Build a Fence
Like raised beds, you can help keep animals out of the garden by surrounding your plants with a fence. A soft, mesh fence is difficult for skunks and raccoons to climb and can be set up temporarily. If rabbits, deer, or marmots are giving you trouble, you can alternatively set up an electric fence. You can find electric wires that emit just enough voltage to scare away wildlife in most hardware stores. These can also be set up temporarily.
Get Rid of Other Food Sources
Skunks, rats, raccoons, and other animals are drawn to yards where they can find food. Get rid of the bird feeder and store your seeds and gardening materials in a shed. Make your garbage cans and recycling bins inaccessible, as well. Use lidded receptacles and store them in the garage or shed until collection day. You should also clean them out with vinegar every few weeks to make them unappealing to wildlife. Always clean up after a meal outside, and don’t leave any pet food out.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar and Spices
Pests dislike the smell of apple cider vinegar because it is similar to predator urine. It is also effective at repelling ants because it covers up their scent trails. Soak some rags in apple cider vinegar and place them in sandwich bags, then poke holes in the bags and place them around the garden. Next, try mixing one part apple cider vinegar with one part water and spraying the sides of the garden to keep bugs out. You can also spray your plants directly by diluting the vinegar further. This works best when the weather is warm, sunny, and dry.
Mice and rats especially dislike cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle some of these spices in the garden to ward them off. You can also make a hot pepper spray by mixing one tablespoon of hot sauce with a gallon of water and a drop of dish soap. Spray the mixture around the edges of the garden.
Set Up Motion-activated Deterrents
There are all kinds of electronic deterrents out there. Some flashlights make high-pitched sounds or spray water when an animal comes near. Try installing one or two motion-activated repellents in the garden to encourage the animals to leave. These can be purchased from hardware stores, home supply stores, or online retailers.
Hire a Wildlife Remover or Pest Control Professional
If there is an animal living on your property and you want it removed, call a professional for help. They have the tools and know-how to remove them safely. Attempting to remove an animal yourself could result in injury and risks separating a mother from her young. And you definitely don’t want to get sprayed by a skunk!
If you have been dealing with rats, the problem won’t go away without professional intervention. Rats are common in city gardens and spread from one area to the next. Call The Exterminators in Peterborough or near you. A technician can set up bait stations for you and service them regularly to keep the rodent population under control. This won’t harm your garden or the other species in the neighborhood.
Growing produce without attracting wildlife is a bit tricky, but it can be managed with a combination of the tricks above. Remember to restrict the animals’ access to food – keep as much as you can out of reach. If it’s too much, call a professional for help. They can get rid of pests and help keep them out by excluding the garden for you.