Wildlife can both help and harm your garden; butterflies, bees and hummingbirds help pollinate flowers while damaging plants through chewing, digging or transport. Recognizing which species cause the most damage (by tracking their tracks or looking for tracks, nibble marks or nests) will allow for effective strategies.
Plants equipped with natural defenses such as pricks and thorns, toxic-to-pest traits or strong scents may help deter animals. Additional methods can include using cloches, row covers or netting.
Fence it in.
Fencing can be the key to keeping animals out of your vegetable garden, but choosing the type and height wisely. Deer, for instance, often graze on crops; chicken wire buried underground will deter gophers and moles; four foot fences will deter rabbits and groundhogs; while for climbers such as squirrels or raccoons you need one with a floppy top to prevent them from climbing over it or opt for special squirrel fencing that’s less easily chewed through than standard chicken wire fencing would.
Determine what species are doing the most damage in your garden and build a fence designed to deter them. Paw prints in the soil could indicate deer are roaming about; sharp cuts on herbaceous plants or tear marks on woody ones might suggest rabbits; while large pellet droppings could signal groundhogs have been nibbling away at your veggies!
For most vegetables, a 4-foot fence will keep out rabbits and groundhogs; to ward off deer however, an 8-foot fence is necessary. If the problem persists with these animals, try burying chicken wire or hardware cloth underneath your fence at least 10″ deep for extra defense against any persistent threats.
Plastic mesh is another cost-effective solution to keep animals out of your vegetable garden, and can serve either as a permanent or temporary measure. Installation is straightforward: simply cut it to size, fold over wooden fence posts and staple into place – something readily available from most garden centers or home improvement stores.
Panel picket fencing is another popular choice for veggie gardens because of its easy installation process and interlocking catches that snap into place. Available in either metal or wood materials and featuring either flat-top or pointy picket designs. Furthermore, many fences even come equipped with gates so you can navigate your way around your vegetable patch!
Put up a deterrent.
Gardening can be an immensely fulfilling and delicious pastime, yet it can become increasingly frustrating when animals consume your harvest. Luckily, there are various deterrents available to keep away wild critters – some might work better than others so test out various approaches until you find one that works well and make adjustments as necessary.
Fencing can be one of the most effective means of protecting a vegetable garden. Fences may be constructed out of wood, metal, or plastic and must match up to what animal(s) you wish to deter; for instance rabbits are known to jump over short fences; therefore a fence that stands at least four feet is recommended in order to deter rabbits; to deter burrowing animals such as gophers bury at least half the bottom portion underground at least a foot deep.
If you prefer not to use fencing, plant covers and scare devices can serve as effective deterrents. Chicken wire cloches will protect individual plants from bunnies and deer while netting can protect ripening fruits, vegetables, and flowers from squirrels who might otherwise nibble them up!
Many deterrents are only temporary measures and will need to be applied again after heavy rainfall. You could try using animal products like urine or dried blood that contain animal scents to deter pests when they detect it; or plant repellents like garlic clips and castor oil which taste or smell bad to animals and may help.
Removing animals from your veggie patch by surrounding it with plants animals love, such as corn and tomatoes, may deter them from entering in the first place. This tactic could potentially prevent their entry altogether!
Ensure your established vegetable patch is regularly monitored for signs of animal damage, with particular attention paid to young plants that appear vulnerable. As soon as new shoots start getting nibbled upon, consider protecting them with fencing or plant covers immediately – young plants in particular are highly susceptible to animal nibbling as their nutrients attract predators, potentially stunting or even killing growth altogether. It’s crucial that young vegetables remain protected until they have enough strength against natural predators that predate on them.
Set up a scare device.
Small animals can cause serious damage to vegetable gardens by grazing on crops or digging holes in the ground. Many of the same techniques that deter rabbits, squirrels and groundhogs from your garden will also prevent these predators from attacking it – an effective fence is essential in keeping ground-dwelling critters away while you may need to dig a trench lined with chicken wire to keep out burrowing animals such as gophers or moles from digging through it all.
Animals that possess an acute sense of smell can be dissuaded from entering gardens by using highly fragrant products, like Irish Spring soap bars. Punch a hole in each bar, wrap it with twine, and hang them from trees or fence posts around your garden; their strong aroma should keep deer away!
Just as rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks need protection from rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks, you should employ similar strategies in protecting your vegetable garden from birds and other flying pests. Birds can destroy ripening fruits and seeds as well as dig holes in the soil in search of prey such as earthworms. You can create a simple barrier with sticks or purchase and place fake predators such as owls to discourage birds from accessing your garden.
Another way to prevent bird attacks is to plant bulbs less appealing to birds, such as alliums, grape hyacinths, crocuses (except very large clumping varieties ) and scillas. They can still be planted alongside traditional tulips and crocuses but will be less tempting for nibbling critters.
Cayenne pepper can help deter many of these same animals from trying to dig up your crops. It has proven particularly effective against squirrels, raccoons and mice.
Plant covers like netting, gardening fabric or chicken wire can also help limit animal damage to plants. While these measures won’t stop burrowing creatures like groundhogs from burrowing under them, these cover are effective in shielding new or fragile plants from marauding animals such as rabbits and ground squirrels. A mesh covering may even prove especially helpful against rabbits and ground squirrels!
Plant a barrier.
Planting a vegetable garden can be both engaging and rewarding, but if it gets eaten up by animals it can become frustrating. There are various methods you can employ to protect your veggies from animals including fences and deterrents.
Building a barrier around your veggie garden is one of the best ways to secure it. Fences made out of wood or metal come in various styles and designs that can enclose all or certain parts of your garden, such as those where there have been issues such as rabbits. A 1-1.5m fence should suffice. In sandy soil environments burying it at least 30cm will help stop burrowing by rabbits or other ground dwelling animals.
To protect kale, carrots, squash and radishes that grow above-ground such as carrots, radishes and lettuce from animals reaching your plants more easily while giving you greater soil control, consider raising beds. Raised beds make it harder for animals to access these vegetables while giving more control of soil conditions and drainage. Some people also use chicken wire or netting hung from hoops over raised beds in order to deter rabbits or other pests from accessing these vegetables – this type of netting allows water, airflow and 95% of light through for plants while deterring animals from getting through.
Other barriers include planting flowers that animals dislike, such as nasturtiums and marigolds. Planting toxic flowers such as daffodils and tulips may also deter squirrels. Hanging shiny balloons with menacing faces on them may also be effective; just be wary not to disturb pets or children who might play with the balloons!
If there’s one vegetable you love and don’t want to lose, try planting it near other varieties that animals prefer less. This should keep animals away from your prized produce and save a great deal of heartache. Or try adding rosemary, garlic and oregano – plants which contain compounds which deter animals from eating your veggies while also adding beauty and scent to your garden!