Protecting Your Garden Investment

We’ve all been there.  We spend months all winter planning our garden.  We select seeds ideally suited for our climate, arrange the plant to maximize the available light and space we have at our disposal.  We spend countless hours prepping our soil, planting, fertilizing, & watering our plants — only to have an all-to-avoidable pest enjoy the fruits of your labor.

What’s Eating You?

Every spring it seems like there is no shortage of nefarious creatures looking to undo all the hard work you put in planning and planting your vegetable patch.  And some of them can be quite persistent about getting to your garden. The first step to saving your vegetables for your table will depend on being able to accurately identify what is munching on your produce.

Deer

In certain parts of the world, and for those growing in a rural environment, these can be quite voracious eaters.  While beautiful to look at we’d all prefer they focus their energies on the wild plants outside of our planter boxes!  If you have your garden in an area that’s easily fenced in, you can get some poly vinyl deer fencing that should do the trick.  It hooks easily on metal stakes and you can even take it down in the fall to make harvest, or tilling easier.  If you are having deer feed in an area that is not easily fenced in or not aesthetically desirable to have a fence up, try automatic sprinklers that activate based on motion.

Moles, Gophers, Squirrels Rabbits And Other Ground Rodents

These little guys are never happier than when chewing down the roots of your favorite fruit tree or swiping the root vegetables out of your garden.  Deer fencing won’t be as useful on rodents because they can easily tunnel in or even squeeze through very small openings where your fencing meets the ground.  Some of the non-toxic and more humane ways to try to rid your garden of these all too common pests are the use of false predator signals.  These include plastic model birds of prey which work like scarecrows.  Another false predator signal you can send to try to protect your crops is the urine of actual predators.  Don’t ask me how they actually collect this stuff, but supposedly this stuff can make the little guys think twice about munching on your veggies while you’re away. NOTE: I’ve actually had problems with mice when storing grains over the winter.  I had good luck keeping them away using an electronic sound maker that creates a high pitched squeal that they can hear and you can’t.  I don’t know if this would work on a live garden but I wasn’t sure what kind of effect something like that would have on the micro-life in the soil, so I haven’t tried it.  If you do, and you have some good luck with it, please write us to let us know!

Birds

I’ve trying all manner of humane ways to keep the birds away from my garden. Birds are very adept at moving seeds across long distances and naturally are very attracted to the strawberries in my garden.  I’ve tried everything from birds of prey to using painted red rocks.  Someone told me that the birds would peck at the rocks thinking they were strawberries and get frustrated and fly away…Yeah, birds are a little smarter than that I’m afraid.  The best luck I’ve had at keeping the birds away was netting.  Be careful that your netting is not so dense as to block that all important sun on your sun-loving plants.