Photo courtesy of http://www.PDphoto.org
There’s nothing more disheartening then putting so much hard work into your vegetable container garden only to have the local animals – dogs, cats, rabbits, raccoons, deer or other furry creatures – ruin it by digging, eating or urinating on your plants. Here are some tips as to how to keep them out! Note: These methods will also work in a conventional garden as well.
I like to use natural methods of keeping animals away before resorting to a commercial spray. Some commercial sprays now a days are organic and safe to use around pets and children, check the labels or ask the staff at your local nursery or garden store what they would recommend. I never recommend using mothballs or moth crystals to keep animals out of a garden. Although they are highly effective, they are extremely toxic to both pets and children.
The best method of keeping animals out of your garden is to either install a fence, chicken wire or keep your containers indoors. However this isn’t always a practical solution for gardeners so here are some more safe and natural ways to keep those critters out:
Spice it up! Sprinkling spices such as Red chili powder, Cayenne Pepper or freshly ground Black Pepper will help keep most animals out of the garden. Most animals will have the same reaction as we do to these spices – sneezing and watery eyes – so once they catch a whiff, it’s likely they will stay away. Re-sprinkle after a rain.
A method I came across to keep cats away is to sprinkle orange peels and coffee grounds in the garden. Cats apparently hate the smell of citrus. Other types of citrus peels will probable work too, and there are some citrus sprays on the market as well. Don’t drink coffee? Stop by Starbucks* – most branches give away free used coffee grounds for composting purposes, but they will work for this method as well. My favorite thing about using the peels and coffee grinds is that not only do they keep the animals out, but they also provide your garden with a fertilizer boost!
Another technique that will work for most animals (dogs, cats, deer, rabbits and raccoons) is to use a vinegar spray on your plants.
This is the most unusual approach I’ve heard of, but I figure it’s worth a shot. Fill empty clear bottles (soda bottles, water bottles etc – take off the wrappers first) with water and place around the perimiter of your garden or yard, approximately every 3 feet or so. I’ve never tried this, but many people claim it works. What have you got to lose?
Hope these tips were helpful. If you have any additional methods, please comment and let us know!
*Disclaimer – Vegetable Container Gardening is not affiliated with or promoting Starbucks in any way. The sole purpose in mentioning them in this post is to provide readers with information that we think is important. That’s all, don’t read too much into it.