By no means do I have a green thumb, but I do enjoy gardening. Especially, when I plant my vegetables, herbs, and flowers from seed. There is a certain joy you get from seeing your handiwork grow from a seed to a full plant. That mature seedling can be cut to adorn a table or become part of a meal. The worst part about gardening is seeing your hard work nearing fruition only to find that the local animals feasted on your crop before you did!
Rabbits, deer, coyotes, birds, gophers, caterpillars, and other critters are just waiting for your garden to be dinner-ready. Do not let unwanted visitors enjoy all the hard work you put into your vulnerable plants. We are going to explore how to keep animals out of garden areas so you can feast on your favorite foods before the critters do.
What are the Main Animals That Will Attack a Garden?
There are many pests just waiting for your fruits, vegetables, and herbs to be ready for eating.
Here is a list of some small animals you may find in your garden:
Large animals may include:
- Pets like dogs and cats
What Should You Do About the Pests?
If your garden is waiting to be a wild pests smorgasbord, you need to take action. The first thing you will need to do is find out what type of animal is the culprit.
This may vary according to where you live. Those that live close to wooded areas may find that deer, moles, coyotes, woodchucks, beavers, and even bears may be feasting on your garden crops. In more populated areas it may be squirrels, rabbits, and even pets that do the chomping.
No matter what is doing the damage, we want them to find their own food and not indulge in the plants that we have so lovingly cultivated until they produce food for our tables.
Here are some steps to take according to Gardener.com
- Find out what type of pest is wreaking havoc on your garden. To find an effective method of keeping animals out of the garden, you need to learn about the animal and their habits.
- Make your garden less inviting. Animals like areas where they feel safe and have a place to hide. This means that tall grass, piles of leaves, brush, and scrub are great hiding places for many pests. If you live in a home with a deck, crawlspace, or basement, little critters like squirrels, mice, rats, and moles find them as welcoming hiding places. Make sure that all cracks in the foundation are covered so they cannot get into the home. Outside, make sure that brush and debris are cleaned up; make sure that compost, bird feeders, and other food sources are covered so small pests can not get into them.
- Choose a control method to keep pests away. There are many options. It is up to the gardener to determine the best control method to keep them away.
Keep Pests Out of Your Garden
The action taken to eradicate your garden from pests will depend on the type of animal or insect attacking your plants.
There are many ways to keep pests out of your garden without injuring the animal, which is the goal. Some prefer natural methods FamilyHandyman.com suggests these methods:
- Build a fence around the garden. Mesh fencing will keep most small animals away, but if your biggest predator is deer, you need a fence at least 5-6 feet tall.
- A wire cloche. This is a cover that fits over a plant or group of plants. It will keep animals away but can be removed so you can harvest your vegetables.
- Hot pepper sauce. Just open up your refrigerator and grab the hot sauce. Most animals hate the smell and taste of hot pepper. A mixture of 1-ounce of hot pepper sauce and a cup or two of water may do the trick. Some add a few drops of dish soap and the leaves of marigolds to the blender. Most animals, like rabbits, hate the smell of marigolds, and they will deter these pests. Just spray the plants regularly, and they should be safe. You will want to repeat this after it rains.
- Milk. Believe it or not, milk will deter deer. Mix ¼ cup of milk and a couple of drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray on plants every 8-10 days and after it rains. If you do this, your garden will be free from deer.
- Soap. A bar of soap can keep deer and squirrels away from your garden. Skewer a bar of soap so that it is the height of your plants. You can also hang a bar of soap above the plants with some cord and cheesecloth.
- Plant bad-tasting flowers. Many gardeners plant flowers in the beds along with their vegetables. It is a pretty option, but one known to deter several pests. Marigolds have a very distinct taste and smell that most small animals do not like. Herbs like mint and lavender are also effective in keeping some pests away.
- Loud noises. Many pests are frightened by loud noises. If possible, you can have a radio turned to a top 40 station or putting wind chimes around the garden to keep predators away. Of course, this may not be a viable option if you have neighbors close by.
- Make a plant tent. Use garden hoops to support a light fabric and completely cover the plant(s) under attack from pests.
- Catnip. If your main predator is a wild cat, try planting catnip in another area of the yard. The cat will be drawn to the catnip and leave the plants alone.
- Elevate your crops. Plant vulnerable vegetables and herbs in raised beds or containers. This makes it more difficult for some animals to reach.
- Use Traps: Some people try keeping pests away by using hunting traps, but this may cause injury and sometimes death to the animal. It is up to the gardener to determine if this is a viable option for them.
Other Types of Pests
Animals aren’t the only pests attracted to your garden. There are a whole host of insects just waiting for you to plant your vegetables and plants, so they can feast on them.
Some common insects include::
- Leaf Miner
- Red Spider Mites
- Cabbage worms
All of these pests can destroy your plants, so gardeners should be prepared to fight these pets as well as animals if they want to have a fruitful crop.
We hope you learned something on how to keep animals out of garden areas. You wouldn’t have to worry about pests ruining your plants by following this guide.