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We had a raccoon and cats that were being nuisances. I purchased several of the "old fashioned" toilet bowl fresheners - the type that hang in the bowl and smell so bad. I hung them along the bottom of the fence especially in areas I know the animal used for access. They have worked like a charm.
We use mousetraps to keep squirrels, rabbits and cats from ruining our garden. The noise scares them without hurting them so that they don't return.
By Pat K
Tips and ideas for protecting your plants from small animals. Post your ideas.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
Is there a natural way to repel deer from eating garden veggies, besides a fence?
Hardiness Zone: 3b
By linn from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
If you are troubled by deer or rabbits eating plants in your garden, try this inexpensive spray. Whisk one egg with 1 cup water; pour into a 1 quart pistol grip spray bottle. Add 1 tsp dish soap. Fill rest with water. Set outside in the sun for about 3 days, until it's putrefied. One little squirt does the job. You do not have to over saturate. Reapply after a rain. Source is unknown. I heard it from a friend who has used it for a long time.
There are motion activated 'scare crows' that when there's moment of a dear, rabbit, bird, raccoon or other animal (even your neighbors dig happy dog) ill make a sudden movement to startle them away. That's also variations of that with a sprinkler that shoots a bit of water to startle the intruder away.
There is absolutely no harm done to the animals and no poisons or affected plants. And its also aesthetically pleasing. And unlike owl and coyote statues the animals wont become desensitized to them and ignore it. The only down fall is they may be a touch costly. but its well worth it. And unlike topical sprays it wont harm the flowers or produce, It wont add a bad odor and you don't need to remember to reapply it weekly.
This worked for an elderly gardener in the country: She saved her urine and buried open jars of it around the garden with the openings exposed. She also saved hair from her hairbrush and put it in the garden.
We had a lot of tomatoes, but they got eaten by some animal. My question is if I plant tomatoes now will they still have fruit on them? How do I protect my plants from being eaten? How high of a fence should I have and what should I use?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Linda from Brighton, MI
I don't know if it will work, but we actually bought one of those hanging tomato planters and put the plant in there.. the tomatoes are just ripening now and are beautiful and because it hangs, no animals can get at it. I am amazed as i was skeptical that it would really work, but it has!
Our big animal problem is squirrels. They love to pull nearly ripe tomatoes and take one bite. One squirrel even tosses the rest of the tomato at us if we are on the patio. I'd love an answer to this problem. Cayenne pepper helps until the rains come. So far our hanging planter has not produced even one flower, much less a tomato. So disappointed but think the corner is too shady.
Most pests don't eat tomatoes until they are red. I once read in a gardening book that tomato plants only ripen a tomato about 50%, at which point the plant stops ripening it and it finishes ripening on its own. So I started picking tomatoes when they are orange and let them ripen off the vine. By doing this, I got lots more tomatoes, they tasted the same as if they had been ripened on the vine, and most of them didn't have any garden varmint nibbles on them.
Contrary to popular belief, tomatoes seem to ripen best in the dark. I place the orange tomatoes in a paper bag and check them every day.
How do I stop them from entering my yard?
By Thomas K.
I use a 410 or a 22...Coyotes do a lot of damage in my area. We farm. They have killed my chickens, ducks, cats, taken down and killed several young calves, taken trash out of the trash barrel, rooted in the garden, torn up my compost pile, and carried of my kids toys and chewed on them. Several years ago a neighbor shot one that was acting strange and it was sent off. While it tested neg for rabies, it was full of parasites and very sick looking, with stuff running from its eyes. You don't want them in your yard.
Depending on your state, try your local conservation agent for suggestions, as well as your local county extension office for ideas.
One of my favorite cooking ingredients is fresh herbs. I've grown many different kinds over the years: rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, sage, basil, dill, and more. All have proved hardy enough to withstand the outdoors year round, even insects, here in Georgia, but they are usually mangled by reckless squirrels, even when I've grown them in large clay pots on our deck.
At the moment, I'm experimenting with growing 4 varieties indoors in a sunny window, but they will soon be too big for that space. I suppose I could resort to covering them outside with netting, but wonder if there is a better way to protect them. I am looking forward to having your thoughts. Many thanks.
How do you keep the deer, squirrels, coons, ground hogs, and rabbits out or your garden?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By Thomas from Kansas City, MO
If you figure out a foolproof way, patent it, and you'll be rich! A good fence goes far in helping to keep them out; but groundhogs and raccoons can climb, and deer can jump (unless it is very high). The 'hogs will also dig underneath, as can rabbits.
If you can make a four-foot fence, with small enough wire to keep the rabbits out, you can run an electric (fence) wire at the top and bottom. Watch for digging, and you should be fine. I have tried the mothballs and marigolds, pepper wax, and all of that. It seems to make no difference for me. Since my fence is only 3 feet tall, and the 'hog gets in anyway, I am thinking that next year I may add the electric, or maybe plant a row of tasty things on the outside of the fence, to see if that will stop him before he goes in! I am also going to try a havahart trap. Only time will tell!
Go get hair at the local salon or salons. We give lots free to people for their gardens.
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How can I keep the animals away from my vegetable plants?
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By bardha from Randolph, NJ
I don't know this from first-hand experience, but I have heard that many people plant marigolds around the edge; rabbits, etc. don't like the smell and stay away. (06/25/2009)
By Mary T
What is the best way to keep rabbits out of your tomatoes?
Hardiness Zone: 2a
By Darlene from Milton, ON, Canada
Plant marigolds around your garden. Rabbits can't stand the odor of the flowers. Works for me every time! (06/07/2010)
You don't say how big the garden area is. One thought is to buy some wooden stakes or make your own about 3 feet long and bang them into the ground around the garden. Buy some chicken wire and make a fence attaching the wire to the stakes. Place some rocks around the bottom to prevent the rabbits from digging under then wire fence. Or you could buy a Havahart trap, bait the trap and when you trap a rabbit take it about 10 miles or so away and release the rabbit if that is the critter doing the damage. (06/08/2010)
What non chemical method can be used to keep deer and cats out of the vegetable and the flower beds?
By Florine from Hyattsville, MD
I sprinkle black pepper on the soil periodically (it doesn't rain much here, so that is a factor for you to adjust for). It works for skunks and cats, not sure about deer. (05/02/2010)
Human hair clippings, and, I know it's gross, but a big time farmer told me human urine around the garden. It has to be replaced every few day. He says he puts it in cups. (05/03/2010)
Cats hate citrus. Place some orange/lemon/grapefruit peels (or even pieces) around your garden. This is also a great tip for keeping cats away from your Christmas tree. You can also spray lemon scented water around. The cats won't like it one bit. Sorry I can't help you with the deer though.
Thank you for trying to solve your problem without using anything toxic to animals. Some people will tell you to use moth balls, but moth balls will kill a cat and are very toxic. (05/06/2010)
What is a cheap way to keep wildlife (rabbits,chipmunks, etc.) out of my vegetable garden? I want to keep them from eating all my produce? I do love animals.
Has anyone heard of using certain brands of soap shavings to keep wildlife (rabbits) away from produce? Or is that snakes? I know mothballs work great for keeping snakes away from preferred areas. They stink, though.
By Trudy from woods of PA
I use the dog hair I capture when I brush my dogs. Gather as much as you can and spread it out round the garden/beds. This worked great for me! (03/26/2010)
Erecting a fence is the most effective strategy for keeping the widest variety of animals out of your vegetable garden. If you are trying to keep out deer, you will need a fence that is at least 7 feet high to prevent them from jumping over it. A 2-foot high fence should be sufficient to keep rabbits out. Regardless of the height, fences should be dug 12 to 15 inches underground to deter groundhogs and keep other "diggers" out.
If you have a large garden, surrounding it with a fence can be a bit costly, but it is well worth the one-time investment if you can afford it. Once erected, you will free yourself of the frustration of losing a large portion of your hard work to animal thieves. Make sure you check local building codes and use materials that are durable and long lasting.
If birds are the main problem, vulnerable plants can be covered with a lightweight netting for protection.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
We live in the country mountains so there are lots of bunnies, deer and other little critters always wanting in our veggie garden. My husband has put up a very high fence with chicken wire, but he also had to put it on the ground along the fence too. He took one foot of fence and attached it to the fence going up, then bent it forward when it hit the ground and made it smooth all the way around the fence. This left 3 feet setting on the ground. Then he attached metal spikes made from coat hangers to hold it down. We found out that without this chicken wire going out from the fence at least 3 feet the bunnies were able to dig into the garden. This seems to have deterred them.
By RoseMary B. (06/20/2005)
We do not (yet) have a problem with rabbits. But, we did put up an 8 foot fence around the garden so that the deer could not get into the garden anymore. (06/20/2005)
I live out in the sagebrush in a desert area and the jackrabbits generally eat most plants down to the nubbin the first night you put them out. I cut the bottom out of the plastic kitty litter buckets and placed them over my vegetable garden plants. I have also done this with the plastic containers that the plants are potted in when you buy them. Apparently if they can't eat the base of the plant it is enough to deter them. (06/23/2005)
The peacocks that have adopted our neighborhood have also discovered our garden. As Jamie says they try everything and leave holes in lettuce, bite into squashes and peppers, etc. just to make you mad. We enjoy having them but in today's economy we need to grow some of our food. Any ideas are welcome. The fence won't work, they can fly over, I don't like using chemicals and I don't know if the electron ic/ultrasound gadgets work. (01/09/2008)
Does anyone have any knowledge about sprinkling cayenne pepper around plants to deter animals? I know it works for deer around flowers but I was wondering about the pepper soaking in to the roots of edible veggies, if this would be safe to do. (06/09/2008)
By valerie everly
Go online and do a search, with Google or Ask - for plants/flowers that repel animals. Some aren't very tasty, so the animals won't snack on them. I know that human hair (from your barber/beauty shop) repel deer. Scatter it around the boundaries of your garden/yard. (06/16/2008)
I read somewhere that it is unsafe for the animals if you use cayenne pepper. There have been instances of the cats getting it in their eyes and scratching the eyes so badly they are blinded. It may have been on this site. (06/17/2008)
We used to have problems with rabbits, coons, and armadillos getting to our garden and container tomatoes. We were told about laying bird or deer netting down all around our garden. The critters don't like to walk on the netting and it doesn't harm them other than to scare them away. We just leave the netting down and cut holes through to plant our garden. Lowe's has a 7'x100' roll for about 13 bucks. Good luck! (06/17/2008)
Jerry Baker's Garden Tonics book. I bought it years ago and it has a lot of natural tonics for various pest controls which have been reliable for me. He has a website and several books still available. Good luck and god bless and help you. :) (06/18/2008)
Cayenne pepper is edible. I wouldn't worry about it soaking into the roots of the vegetables it is put on unless you don't like things a little spicy. :) I doubt it would do anything to the veggie. I use it to keep squirrels out of the garden. They like my tomatoes, but not so hot!
For deer, just put fence pieces on the ground. They hate their feet to get tangled in it. You might have to re-flatten it out a few times. They get it on their feet once or twice, they will not be back. (11/26/2008)