Last year I woke up early one spring morning and headed to the garden with a car full of baby plants, eager to put them in my garden. Spending the morning tending and planting, I walked away feeling accomplished and joyful.
The next morning I went to the garden and to utmost dismay someone, or something, had turned my garden into an overnight salad bar. All my young leaves were chewed down to the stem. I was so discouraged and disappointed. Who could have done such a thing?
Many of you have your own stories of losing tender produce to uninvited garden guests.
This year those pesty pests would not get the better of me! Deciding to fight back I learned a few things that might help you defend your plants this season
The most obvious way to keep critters out of your garden is to put up fences. You can use a fine mesh chicken wire to really keep them out. Remember varmints can climb and birds are also culprits of eating your salad garden. Some gardeners use netting to cover crops and protect them from being eaten.
Create A Border Of Herbs
Most rodents are put off by strong herbal scents, such as basil, echinacea, garlic, and thyme. To keep away the rodents, plant a border of these herbs around the outside of your garden. Once the rodents smell them, they will think your garden has nothing to offer and they’ll turn away.
This year I invested in mesh popup tents made for outdoor picnics to keep debris and flies away from food. So far they seem to be working! I still have all of my young plants and so far no-one has figured out how to dig under them. I found them on Amazon LINK. I have seen other gardeners build mesh cages around plants, use mesh waste paper baskets and custom create protective cages with pieces of wood and plastic. Anything to keep the critters physically away from eating your plants!
Sprays and spices
Another deterrent I experimented with this year was a two dollar solution. I bought a jar of cayenne pepper and a jar of dried minced onions and spread them around my garden. You can also make a spray with hot sauce and water and spray this on your plants. It won’t affect the taste of your veggies, except of course for leafy greens! Some people have said that Irish Spring soap in your garden will deter those pests too!
Another method is to put up shiny objects, tinsel, old CD’s, anything that moves and reflects light. Or try a fake owl to keep them out. I’ve seen pinwheels in gardens too!
So far, I still have all my plants this year using a combination of these techniques.