As any gardener knows, vegetable gardens are a time-consuming labor of love. While it is natural to want to share the garden’s bountiful harvest with some local wildlife – including squirrels – their presence can often be more harmful than helpful.
Squirrels commonly eat away at vegetables, scratch and dig up seeds for planting, and sometimes create nests amongst unplanted soil. Unfortunately, when unchecked, this kind of activity can significantly reduce yields or make plots inaccessible. To prevent this type of disruption, gardeners must work diligently to keep squirrels out of their vegetable gardens.
In order to keep squirrels out of your vegetable garden, there are a few steps you can take. One way is to create physical barriers such as fences or raised beds that deny access to the entire area. You could also make use of chemical repellents such as cayenne pepper or vinegar spray around the perimeter and throughout the plot to discourage foraging behaviors. Additionally, noise-makers like wind chimes can provide a surprising level of protection against pests without taking invasive measures like trapping or shooting the animals in question. Taking time off from gardening can also help since it prevents attracting animals with fresh produce. Lastly, using scare tactics with errant objects placed in random locations like plastic birds or bubblewrap can prove effective at keeping an unwanted visitor away from your precious plants.
Factors to Consider Before Taking Action Against Squirrel Infestation
When it comes to keeping squirrels out of your vegetable garden, there are a few important factors to consider first. Firstly, assess the size of your garden. If it is large, latching down and netting all sides of the garden is a good option. The same applies if your vegetables are grown close to the ground and therefore more accessible for the squirrels. Secondly, look at what type of vegetation is most attractive to them. Almonds, walnuts and other types of nuts attract squirrels as do sweet fruits such as apples and pears. If this is what you’re growing in your vegetable patch, you may wish to consider some preventative measures such as fencing or scare tactics that can help keep them from getting into your carefully cultivated plants. Additionally, make sure that compost heaps or bird feeders aren’t too near the garden or providing an easy access route for them through garages and sheds. Being mindful of how these other areas might be helping entice them will be key in limiting their access to your veggies. Finally, when choosing products designed specifically with rodent control in mind, research traditional repellents such as seaweed-based sprays or exotic options like ultrasonic sound devices so you have a variety available for different seasons and conditions.
Evaluation of your Garden
It is important to first evaluate your garden for any weaknesses or entry points that squirrels might be able to use to access it. Make sure gates and fences are secure, as this may be one of the main ways that squirrels can get in. Examine all nearby trees, branches and powerlines; trim back overhanging vegetation or remove structures (birdhouses, etc.) that could allow them easy access into the garden. Double check that sheds, garages, greenhouses, and other out-buildings have been secured properly; pay attention to the condition of vents or exhaust pipes since these can provide potential entry points too. Finally, make a mental map of possible entry points and include scenarios like burrowing below fencing or strong winds blowing open a gate. After identifying any areas of concern, you can work on implementing measures to successfully keep squirrels out of your garden.
Tactics To Implement to Keep Squirrels Out of Vegetable Gardens
1. Create a physical barrier: Put up fences made from chicken wire, hardware cloth, or small-mesh plastic fencing around your garden. To make the barrier more effective, install it at least two feet high and bury a few inches of the fencing below the soil level to keep squirrels from digging beneath it. You may also want to place some branches alongside the fence to increase its height or add a hot wire of electric current to create an uncomfortable experience for any squirrel that attempts to breach it.
2. Use deterrent sprays: There are special deterrent products available on the market containing natural ingredients like vinegar, garlic extract and capsaicin-based hot sauce which can be sprayed in and around areas where squirrels have been seen digging or snatching vegetables away. Spraying these products on surfaces that support squirrels’ activities will make them less likely to linger around your garden area.
3. Remove hiding spots: Like other rodents, squirrels feel protected if there are plenty of access points such as trees and shrubs for quick escape if needed in moments of danger. Trimming these vegitable gardens can drastically reduce their use as hideouts; keeping your garden area free from debris such as leaves and twigs will also discourage them from frequent visits.
4. Provide alternatives: Squirrels are always looking for easy sources of food since gathering nuts for sustenance is too much work for them so try providing additional food sources as far away from your garden as possible; nutritious wild bird seed mixes are ideal choices because they provide essential nutrients and energy but can be placed out of reach. This will lure them away from snatching your vegetables by offering an easier meal elsewhere.
Use of Natural Repellants To Discourage Squirrels
When trying to prevent squirrels from invading your vegetable garden, you can use natural repellents. These include planting certain trees and plants around the perimeter of your garden that squirrels don’t like such as eucalyptus, rhododendrons and lilacs. You can also spread crushed peppermint or garlic oil around your garden as these have a strong smell that squirrels don’t like. Additionally, it may help to place wire mesh fences around the perimeter of your garden to keep smaller animals out; however, larger animals may find a way around them, so multiple fencing strategies should be used. For example, you can add plastic netting over the fence openings; this will serve as another deterrent for squirrels. Finally, if you put out bird feeders near your patio or deck, move them away from the vegetable garden area so that they are not inviting additional critters into the vicinity of your vegetables.
Use of Live Traps and Humane Relocation Options
One of the most effective ways to keep squirrels out of your vegetable garden is to set up live traps in the garden or around its perimeter and then relocate them away from the property. As a humane option, you can purchase a Havahart live trap which will capture the squirrel without causing any harm. Once you have baited and placed the trap, wait until it is triggered before removing by gently grabbing hold of the back of its neck. Be sure to wear protective clothing if needed when handling the animal. Place it within a well-ventilated transport cage so that it can be safely released in an area at least 10 miles away from your home. This will discourage it from returning to your garden and help protect other nearby areas as well.
Planting Protective Plants to Discourage Squirrels
One way to keep squirrels out of your vegetable garden is to plant protective plants on the perimeter. These can include certain shrubs and flowers that have a strong odor or are difficult for squirrels to climb. For example, planting shrubs like rosemary, lavender, and dill will create an unpleasant smell that may deter squirrels away from the garden. Other plants like dried corn stalks, sunflowers and cosmos are tall and relatively thorny; great deterrents for these rodents as they tend to avoid climbing through elevated vegetation. In addition, ornamental grasses can also be effective in providing natural protection by creating a barrier between the garden and your home.
Creating a squirrel-proof vegetable garden is not only beneficial for the success of your crops and growth, but it can also be beneficial for other wildlife that visits your garden. When you make use of deterrents to keep squirrels away, such as a fence or sprays, these same methods will work well to keep out other animals such as rabbits and deer. Additionally, as squirrels are preyed upon by raptors such as hawks, owls, and falcons, by keeping them away from your garden this can provide an environment free of disruption and predatory touch. Finally, when squirrels are kept away from food sources they can find new ones in their natural habitats which helps to promote health among their population and the wider ecosystem.
If you’re looking to get into vegetable gardening, or are just looking for some tips on how to make your current garden better, then you’ve come to the right place! My name is Ethel and I have been gardening for years. In this blog, I’m going to share with you some of my best tips on how to create a successful vegetable garden.