Gardening Tips and Highlights Waushara County Master Gardeners

Keeping critters from eating my garden

No matter where you live, you can be sure that there is a large or small critter that would very much like to share in your bounty. You must be on guard until the last tomato is picked, carrot is pulled, and eggplant is snipped. So, let’s go over what does not work, sometimes works, and always works in repelling assorted critters. First, never use poisons of any type against the marauders. You’re much more likely to injure a pet or some wild animal that is not a threat to you. Plant marigolds around your garden, only if you like orange or yellow borders; however, some bug varieties may be put off by their scent, but in a long period of gardening, I’ve seen no great benefit from a marigold perimeter other than they are nice to look at. My garden bugs tunnel past or fly over them, and I have seen “Irish Spring soap” hung on trees by some apple growers to discourage marauding deer, but then they stop. Either the soap does not work, the apples become slimy, or it is too expensive. Coyote urine leads the category of “sometimes works.” It is expensive, but deer, groundhogs, rabbits, and moles do seem to be put off by this, at least for a time. Then, just as the scarecrows and those coyote-silhouette cutouts, the animals usually figure out that just because the garden reeks of coyote pee doesn’t mean there is an actual threat. Mothballs also have a short period of usefulness, because varmints get used to the smell. Various commercial sprays that deploy taste and odor barriers are showing more promise, though reviews on most remain mixed. Some have to be sprayed more frequently than others because they are more soluble. In general, it is good to mix up the use of these different products to find what works best or to prevent the targeted animals from getting used to the repellant to the point that they ignore it. What works best is a fence. Inexpensive half-inch or three-quarter-inch plastic mesh can be continued into the ground about six inches or so to keep out diggers. It must be high enough to discourage deer to jump over the fence. After all these tried-but-true examples, you have to agree, gardening is still a rewarding activity. Lesson learned, now we know what the farmers run against in trying to bring a crop to market. This article was obtained from “Planters Place.”