Photo via http://ow.ly/Zcoh301BN0s
Gardening is such a rewarding hobby. One of my favorite things to do is to look out my window to see the progress of my plants. I may see two or three of my green tomatoes starting to turn red, or maybe I spot a new petunia that’s just beginning to open up. What I don’t like to see is a rabbit sitting in my garden chomping on my lettuce plants or a cat digging holes around my colorful pansies. This week, I thought I’d look into what a gardener can do to keep the pesky pests away so a garden has a chance to grow. Enjoy!
If you have a lot of deer around your area, you already know that they love to feast on many items in a garden. One way to deter deer is to build a fence. Deer can jump high, so the fence will have to be at least eight feet tall. Deer also have a good sense of smell, so they stay away from overly fragrant plants such as sage, lavender, and bearded irises. They steer clear of lamb’s ears as well because of their prickly leaves. Growing these plants keeps the deer away and adds to the beauty of your garden!
Rabbits are known for their twitching noses and their excellent sense of smell. One smell they don’t care for is that of onions, so planting onions around the perimeter of your vegetable garden can help to deter rabbits from consuming your greens. Sprinkling sulfur around your garden is another way to deter rabbits. In addition, these long-eared creatures are repelled by certain flowers, including impatiens, geraniums, marigolds, and Russian sage.
I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to keep quiet when I look out the window to see a skunk wandering around my lettuce and tomato plants. One way to deter skunks is to put a chicken-wire covering around each vegetable plant. This denies them all access. Planting squash around the perimeter of your garden is another idea: Skunks will avoid stepping on a squash because the leaves have hairs on them that can irritate a skunk’s paws. Putting mothballs around your garden is another way to discourage visiting skunks. They don’t like the smell of mothballs. (Me neither!)
Moles or Mice
Keep weeds and straw out of your garden so mice and moles don’t have a place to create a nest. Planting onions, garlic, or mint in your garden gives you some tasty ingredients to use for recipes, and rodents are deterred by the aroma of these particular herbs. Lavender is also not a favorite with mice.
A heavy chain-link fence can keep bears from entering your garden. Make sure it is at least eight feet high and goes two feet beneath the ground. If you have a compost pile in your garden area, be sure to keep turning it regularly so bears won’t be attracted by the smell.
Raccoons have sensitive noses, so a garlic and chili powder mix sprinkled around the perimeter of a garden can be a deterrent. Setting a radio to turn on and play loud music in the middle of the night can cause raccoons to scatter, though of course, your neighbors may not be too happy with you. A circle of LED pathway lights also may deter raccoons from approaching a garden.
If you have small birds stealing seeds and pecking at items in your garden, try putting up a plastic owl to scare them off. You can also tie balloons around your garden with faces painted on them. The movement and appearance of the balloons can cause birds to stay away. The presence of a cat can also be a deterrent for birds who try to visit.
Cats and Dogs
If you prefer not to have any cats around your garden, try planting lavender, geraniums, lemon thyme, and rue. These fragrant flowers are too much for a cat’s sense of smell. Or you could scatter some lemon and orange peels around your garden: Cats don’t like the scent of citrus. If you want to keep dogs away from your garden, put up a fence that’s four or five feet tall. You might also sprinkle crushed dried pepper mixed with powdered mustard around the perimeter of your garden. Most dogs will shy away from this odor. A sprinkler that’s motion-activated can also keep dogs away.
I hope these ideas are helpful. Happy gardening! – Ava