Obviously the easiest way to keep critters out of your garden is to put up a good fence. The higher and tighter the better, while burying the bottom will go a long way toward keeping critters from digging beneath. What if you don’t have the time or materials to get a fence up, however? Read on for some tips that will help keep your vegetables flowing to your family, instead of the local deer population.
Hair. That’s right, hair. It may sounds crazy, but save your clippings from haircuts, and scatter it throughout the garden. Animals are pretty good at identifying human scent, and they are extremely wary of it. If the garden smells like people, they’ll tend to avoid it on principle.
You probably already know you need to water twice a day, and that biasing your watering times away from the heat of the day is most beneficial to your plants. If you water dusk and dawn, however, there’s a further benefit: you’re watering right during the feeding time of the crepuscular feeders, and thus cutting down massively on the chances they’ll spend significant time in your garden. This method isn’t for everyone. That morning alarm comes early, and you often have to start or finish by headlamp in the dark, but it is damn effective at reducing the toll taken on your garden.
If your troubles center around smaller critters, like rabbits, raised beds can be a great solution. If you make them at least 15-inches high, it will be incredibly difficult for these little garden bandits to hop up for a feast. Of course, this will not help you when it comes to birds or deer.
Fine netting around fruit trees and berry bushes can be pretty effective in keeping out birds and deer, or at least limiting their damage. Nets can also be paired with Irish Spring bar soap hung in drawstring bags. These soap bags have an effect similar to hair, and their scent keeps critters pretty far at bay.
This one is for the burrowing animals, such as prairie dogs and moles. Mix three tablespoons of castor oil in with a gallon of water, and a tablespoon of dish soap, then spray around your garden. As it saturates the ground, it will heavily deter these subterranean pests.
Deer and bugs tend to hate the smell and taste of mint. Ringing your garden with mint plants can thus be an excellent way to keep them away from your precious plants. You can also plant mint especially close to any plants you are worried about being targeted, or simply scatter mint teabags throughout your garden, though this latter option doesn’t tend to be quite as effective as the real thing.
If you notice certain plants are getting especially hard hit, grind up some cayenne pepper and scatter it over them. Most animals hate the high-Scoville taste, and will immediately be deterred from further grazing.
Everyone knows the efficacy of scarecrows in keeping critters away, but did you know sound can have the same effect? Wind chimes will keep away all sorts of animals, especially birds. They will eventually get used to the clatter, but it can be an effective stopgap while you’re putting more lasting pest-prevention methods in place.
A humble homesteader based in an undisclosed location, Lars Drecker splits his time between tending his little slice of self-sustaining heaven, and bothering his neighbors to do his work for him. This is mainly the fault of a debilitating predilection for fishing, hunting, camping and all other things outdoors. When not engaged in any of the above activities, you can normally find him broken down on the side of the road, in some piece of junk he just “fixed-up.”