Birds, squirrels, deer, moose and bears threaten your sustainable food supply. Protect your heirloom Patriot garden from unwanted pests with several survival strategies.
Banish Destructive Neighbors from Your Vegetable Garden
No matter where you hang your hat, you likely share your habitat with some sort of wildlife. Veggie-loving critters are liable to be dropping by for a bite once your garden gets going. If you’re a city dweller, prepare to say howdy to crows, robins and squirrels. If you live farther afield, your garden acts as a great green welcome mat to hungry deer, moose and berry-seeking bears as well.
While it’s best to design your garden from the get-go to discourage unwanted guests, it is never too late to do some damage control with some constructive, non-threatening strategies:
From snatching up your newly sown heirloom seeds to dive-bombing your strawberry bed, birds can do plenty of damage to your garden. Spread some fine netting over newly seeded areas and producing strawberry beds to discourage invasive beaks. Create a convincing scarecrow to shoo destructive feathered friends away from your sweet corn rows.
Beat these bright-eyed bandits to the punch with homemade hot pepper sauce. Carefully liquefy two whole cayenne or ripe jalapeno peppers in a blender, avoiding contact between the hot peppers and your skin (ouch!). Strain the sauce to remove the seeds. Mix the pepper potion with one gallon of water. Add a squirt or two of dish soap so the liquid will stick to your plants, and then apply it with a spray bottle to any produce that may be at risk.
These super-sized garden pests are always a challenge. They can jump a high fence with ease, and the hungrier they get, the less discriminating they are about what they eat. Rather than giving up, try doubling up. Create two layers of perimeter fencing about 5 feet apart to discourage these persistent four-legged feasters.
If you share your ‘hood with moose, fencing is the best way to keep them from cruising your garden. Obviously, animals of their size go wherever they want, but electrified fencing wire is your best defense against an unstoppable offense. According to The Humane Society, you should use an electric charge appropriate to the size of the animal. High wattage but low amperage delivers a shock that deters Bullwinkle and his buddies without causing them physical harm.
If you have a compost pile near your garden, be sure to avoid adding meat bits or sweet, fragrant scraps that attract food-seeking snouts. Before taking more severe measures, try some scare tactics like adding loud wind chimes or a wind whistle near the garden area. If this mild approach fails, it’s time to get tough. While a heavy fence is best for keeping bears away, you can fortify your existing garden fence by adding a strand of electric fencing wire at bear level. Just be sure to turn off the juice before you go in or out!
Moose photo: "Cow moose" by Veronika Ronkos. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Bear photo: "Black Bear Lake Louise" by Harvey Barrison from Massapequa, NY, USA - Canadian Rockies - the bear at Lake Louise Uploaded by Hike395. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Do you have a clever strategy for keeping wildlife out of your garden? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below.
Check back for tips on controlling insects in your garden, coming soon!