You’ve worked hard on cultivating your backyard vegetable garden. But just as you are getting ready to enjoy a the full-grown result of your hard work, you check on your ripening veggies and blooming flowers – only to find your harvest chewed, trampled, or gone!
Let’s face it – sometimes our gardens are just too irresistible for the pesky critters to resist. Fight back against them with these produce-protecting methods.
Know What You are Dealing With
First, you’ll need to identify what is attacking your plants.
Clean nibbles on vegetables with stems bitten to the ground indicate rabbits, while tearing of herbaceous plants or leafy vegetables point towards groundhogs; while squirrels prefer to chew on fresh fruits. General tips for deterring larger animals from your yard include:
- Keeping garbage cans and compost containers secured with lids and bungee cords
- Avoid leaving food outside, including pet food
- Clear debris from your yard to eliminate hiding places for critters
- Fence off your garden. Chicken wire or rabbit fencing about 3’ high will be able to deter rabbits and other small to medium-sized rodents. Be sure to bury the fence 8-12” into the ground to prevent particularly determined critters from burrowing their way into your veggies.
- Elevate your plants to 2’ tall. Consider using pots, raised beds, or window boxes so most wildlife cannot reach them.
- Keep watch on your ripening berries. Lay plastic bird netting over the plants once the fruit is near-ripe to keep your harvest away from prying paws and mouths.
- If activity is severe, call a local wildlife pest removal service to trap the trouble animal. Do not attempt trapping wildlife yourself, as they may carry harmful bacteria and diseases.
When Insects Invade your Vegetable Garden
Small holes or gradual destruction of plants indicate insects as your culprit. Look for caterpillar droppings on the ground, aphids causing leaf wilt or yellowing, and slimy trails left by slugs. These tiny creatures require different deterrent approaches than larger animals.
Insecticides are effective methods to ensure your decorative plants and delicious veggies remain safe and beautiful! As an example, BioAdvanced Fruit, Citrus and Vegetable Insect Control keeps your edible plants safe all season long with a single application, and Organocide 3-in-1 Garden Spray uses natural oils to protect your veggies from harm while not affecting beneficial pollinators.
You can also put Mother Nature to work by growing some of these naturally insect-repelling plants in your yard:
- To repel mosquitoes, consider planting marigolds, citronella, or lemongrass. Their scents effectively repel those nuisances. When planted near doorways and windows marigold deters insects from your home, while lemongrass can be harvested as an addition to salads or dressings.
- Intersperse alliums (e.g. garlic, shallots, or chives) throughout your garden. They provide protection from slugs, aphids, and flies.
- Pitcher plants and sundews are unique plants that catch more than just your eye—as carnivorous plants, they use specialized sticky juices to trap small insects like gnats, ants, and flies.
Have a small pest problem? Bay laurel and wormwood help deter mice, ants, and roaches. Place at entryways to discourage the critters from getting inside and away from your vegetable garden.It may be impossible to completely eliminate critters from your yard, as nature does not abide by our fences and property lines.
Your flower and vegetable garden is part of a beautiful, complex, large-scale ecosystem. However, you can establish an excellent line of defense by following these suggestions, and coming in to Big Earth Landscape Supply for advice and all the products you need.