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Gardening Without Pests

Gardening Without Pests

Deer and raccoons, rabbits and gophers, moles and chipmunks! They capture your heart when in a book or zoo, but when they invade your garden. Oh! That’s a different story. Yet how can a rabbit resist munching on your crisp lettuce? Or a possum or raccoon stay away from your sweet corn patch? And your berries will always be attractive to a squirrel.

Unless you have a garden. Then, watch out. Those adorable bunnies and possums are not quite as cute after they’ve munched away at the lettuce and stole most of your carrots. Rest assured, however, there are safe, animal-friendly ways to keep those furry critters from invading and destroying your garden. For many years, gardeners used pesticides and other poisons on their fruits and vegetables to deter animals. These would later be proven to be detrimental to the people who later washed and ate them.

Birds are probably one of the easiest garden predators to discourage. They pose slightly less of a threat to a garden than other animals, but most still prefer to discourage their presence. Accomplishing that is really quite simple because birds are easily scared and have many enemies in nature. A thin, nylon humming line that will vibrate in even the gentlest wind is an easy solution to a bird infestation. This is a particularly good deterrent near strawberry patches, and though humans won~t hear the humming of the line, the birds will.

A humming line made of very thin nylon will vibrate and hum in even the slightest breeze. It’s inaudible to us but heard by the birds. This works well with strawberries. Unusual noises can be created with aluminium pie plates loosely tied to stakes or leaving a radio on at night. Installing some blinking lights, hawk-like balloons or kites that mimic larger birds can also be effective. And of course, the two old stand-bys – scarecrows, or a dog or cat ~ always help out with the bird problem. Because birds and other animals need a source of drinking water, eliminate any standing water near the garden.

Nighttime is prowl time for the four-legged pests. Each animal has a distinctive footprint and each has its favourite delicacy to munch on. Many of them, such as deer and raccoons, can be eliminated by putting an electric fence or another barrier around the garden. Pocket gophers can be stopped by putting a fence made of hardware cloth two feet below and two feet above the surface of the garden.

A chicken-wire fence works the best for rabbits, but the holes need to be 1, or smaller. Those young rabbits aren’t very big. To keep the mice from eating your fruit tree’s bark, sink wire mesh or hardware cloth several inches into the ground around the fruit trees.

To keep mice from destroying fruit trees, put wire mesh or a quarter-inch of hardware cloth at least several inches into the ground.

Possums will only eat one or two and then come back later for another one. Some animals will only be eliminated by being caught in a trap. After they are caught be sure to take them at least one mile away and release them in a natural habitat. And, be careful not to get bitten. Rabies is a reality among wild animals.

With some thought and a little work, you can keep those furry friends from turning into garden gremlins.