Cutie Control! How To Keep
Adorable Pests Out Of Your Garden
Bunnies, squirrels and chipmunks are so cute, but what they can do to your garden isn't adorable, and keeping them at bay is different from how you control bugs. There is a happy medium where the critters stay happy without destroying your yard. Here are a few ideas to stop cute pests from ruining your garden.
Squirrels & Chipmunks
Squirrels and chipmunks can do a lot of damage when they find a way into your home. They can be very destructive, doing things like knocking down figurines or making a mess of the insulation while looking for nesting materials. But they're also known to empty bird feeders and destroy flowers in pursuit of nuts, newly planted seeds, and bulbs. Without trapping them or using poison, you can lure them away from your garden with food they like to eat. They're easily distracted from gardens by corn kernels and nuts. If you can't steer them away with food, you can use natural solutions like mixing cayenne pepper with water or mixing vinegar with diced jalapenos. Spritz the mixture on your plants. Planting peppermint around your garden also acts as a deterrent, because squirrels and chipmunks don't like its smell.
Groundhogs or woodchucks are great for lawns and gardens in that their burrowing aerates the soil. However, they are known to chew through cables, and they do like to eat fruit, vegetables, and flowers. It is not ideal to have them lurking around your garden. The best way to keep them out is to build raised bed gardens. If you line them with chicken wire, woodchucks won't be able to burrow in your soil. If your garden is already built, there are a couple of other natural repellents to try. Cats are a natural predator of woodchucks. Woodchucks run when they smell cats. Sprinkling soiled kitty litter around a burrow sends woodchucks packing. If the damage to plants is minor, you can try spritzing your plants with a water and cayenne pepper solution to make leaves less tasty.
Rabbits love to eat most anything in the garden that we like to eat. They like to eat the things we like to look at, too! While they can do damage, they can help your garden, as well. Rabbit droppings are great for fertilizing the garden. It may be in your best interest to keep them around, but with some control. Garlic or pepper spray can keep rabbits away temporarily, and there are a few plants they don't like: Mexican marigolds, crown imperials, garlic, and onions. You can also protect plants by using chicken wire covers for more vulnerable plants or putting up a garden fence.
Keeping deer away is tough. A good, tall fence may block them from your garden, but it may not be an option (or even something you want). Alternatively, there are plants and flowers that they won't bother, like lily-of-the-valley, columbine, chrysanthemum, and hens and chicks. But if you already have your garden designed and executed, there are natural deer repellents to keep them at a safe distance. Eggshells are an excellent solution, because they have a few functions. Deer don't like the smell of raw eggs, so eggshells keep them (and slugs) away. They're also a great fertilizer and can add minerals to your soil. For taller plants and small trees, garden netting works to keep deer away.