Keeping Critters at Bay: Tips to Protect Your Vegetable Garden

Mole crawls out of a wormhole in vegetable gardenThere’s nothing quite as satisfying as cultivating your own vegetable garden—until uninvited critters decide to make it their personal buffet. From rabbits and deer to squirrels and birds, wildlife can wreak havoc on your hard-earned harvest. But, with a few clever tricks and strategies, you can protect your vegetable garden from pesky critters. Let’s explore some effective methods to keep unwanted visitors at bay. 

1. Install Physical Barriers

Fencing is one of the most effective ways to deter larger animals like deer and rabbits. Choose a sturdy fence at least 4-6 feet tall, buried several inches underground to prevent burrowing. For smaller critters like squirrels, consider using mesh or netting to cover vulnerable plants.

2. Companion Planting

Planting certain herbs and flowers alongside your vegetables can help repel pests naturally. For example, marigolds emit a scent that deters many insects, while aromatic herbs like basil and rosemary can confuse and repel pests.

3. Use Scare Tactics

Visual deterrents such as scarecrows, shiny objects like aluminum foil strips or pie plates, and motion-activated devices can all help protect your vegetable garden, as they may startle and deter critters from entering. Regularly change the location or appearance of these scare tactics to prevent animals from becoming accustomed to them.

4. Apply Natural Repellents

Many animals have a strong aversion to certain scents and tastes. Spraying natural repellents like garlic or chili pepper spray on plants can deter browsing animals. Alternatively, consider planting garlic or other pungent herbs around the perimeter of your garden.

5. Create Physical Barriers for Burrowers

Above-ground barriers won’t do much to stop below-ground pests like moles and groundhogs from tunneling into your garden. Consider installing hardware cloth or mesh barriers buried at least 12 inches deep around the perimeter of your garden beds.

6. Keep Your Garden Tidy

Be quick to remove fallen fruits and vegetables, as they can attract pests. Regularly weed and prune plants to reduce hiding spots for pests.

7. Employ Sound and Motion

You may want to use sonic devices or motion-activated sprinklers to protect your vegetable garden. These unexpected sounds or bursts of water might startle critters and encourage them to seek food elsewhere.

8. Provide Alternative Food Sources

Set up bird feeders or designated feeding areas away from your vegetable garden to distract animals like birds and squirrels. Offering alternative food sources can help reduce the pressure on your garden. 

We hope these eight tips are successful in helping you protect your vegetable garden so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor without interference from pesky critters. Remember that, as with everything around your property, regular monitoring and maintenance and promptly addressing any issues is key. For more landscape-related resources, check out our blog. And for professional help with your planting needs or landscape maintenance, contact Dolan Landscaping today.