When planning an outdoor garden, one of the most destructive things that can happen is wildlife. From dear to raccoons, wild critters can dig and eat your crops. But don’t worry, there’s a fair number of things you can do about it. Here are seven ways to prevent animals from attacking your garden.
1 – A Fence
This answer is one of the most simple, but most effective solutions. A small fence, two to three feet tall and running around your garden, can keep practically all animals out of your garden. The only exception is birds. This can be a bit more expensive than the other options, however. But it’s also one of the longest lasting options.
2 – Pepper Spray
This is a personal favorite of mine. By creating a liquid material from peppers, water, and sometimes soap, you can make a spray-on deterrent that will keep animals from eating your crops. I made some from Ghost Peppers I grew a couple of years ago, and it was effective with keeping both Squirrels and insects off of my strawberries.
There are also store-bought critter deterrent sprays, though we need to research them more before giving an informed opinion about them.
3 – Offerings
If you can’t stop them, maybe you can distract them with something better. Some folks offer cups of bird seed or squirrel food off to the side of the garden. The idea is that by offering something more palatable, you’ll keep these critters from messing with your crops.
4 – Noise
Wild animals are generally easy to scare away. This can be done with things as simple as a noise machine near your garden. This can vary from wind chimes to radios to motion activated noisemakers.
5 – Raised Beds
Sometimes, all it takes to stop animals is to lift it off of the ground a little. How high might vary, but you’ll likely need it to be at least a foot high. In our opinion, two feet seems ideal, but we’ve not tested it. Our beds are only 6 inches tall this year.
6 – Grow Bad Tasting Crops
There’s a handful of plants that both smell and taste bad to most critters. One of the most common examples are Marigolds. Others include mint and lavender. By growing this with your garden, you increase the chance of animals skipping your garden for the sake of something better.
7 – A Dog
If you have a dog, a fenced in yard, and a dog door, you essentially have an anti-critter security system. No squirrel is going to mess with a dog yard, that’s for sure. The only catch is that this only works when the weather/temp outside is amicable for pets. Though generally speaking, if its good enough to grow tomatoes, its good enough to let dogs roam.
Bonus: Two Ideas we Don’t Like
These options, while valid, aren’t our favorites. But in an effort for fairness, we’re going to point them out.
1 – Garden Covers/Tents
Using garden hoops and fabric, you can form tents that cover your plants from outside issues. These are often used to protect plants from overwater, too much sun, and (of course) animals. We’re not fond of this option because of how many plants actively want full sunlight, which this would prevent.
2 – Fake Owls
We see this recommended a lot, but they aren’t as effective as you’d think. We actually wrote about this in greater depth in our “Do Fake Owls Work for Stopping Garden Pests?” article. Check that out.
Good luck with your gardens, everyone!