Natural and Humane Ways to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden
Gardening is a rewarding hobby for many, but growing plants outdoors can come with some frustrating challenges. Among the most daunting are animals interacting with your garden. In addition, typical pest removal methods such as using commercial store-bought chemical products come at an ethical and environmental cost.
The good news is that there are natural, humane solutions for all your pest problems. There are solutions, whether it’s a pesky chipmunk digging up seedlings or a feral cat marking their territory.
Below we discuss how to safely and effectively protect your garden and local wildlife.
What to Do When Animals Dig Up Seedlings
It’s a familiar scene: you’ve carefully planted seeds, watered them in, and waited for crops to sprout. Suddenly, you see it – there’s a telltale disturbance in the soil, and your seeds are gone. Chipmunks, squirrels, and other small mammals often dig up and steal seeds or sprouting seedlings to eat. This behavior occurs both in container gardening and gardens directly in the soil.
The easiest solution for a container plant is to move it somewhere that a small animal cannot reach. A high table with no nearby trees, furniture, or other items they could jump off to get to is ideal for foiling chipmunks. If this is not achievable, a sheet of plexiglass attached to the raised lip of a container pot will act as a physical barrier between small animals and your seeds. However, make sure to drill holes in the barrier for plant respiration and check often to ensure it has not shifted.
An in-ground garden is more challenging to protect. A tomato cage can usually keep squirrels out, but a wooden or solid fence may be required to foil chipmunks.
Animals Eating Produce
Unfortunately, the potential for plant destruction does not end once your crops mature. Small animals enjoy a good salad and are not afraid to help themselves to most commonly grown vegetables. This can be particularly irritating because any treatments used on edible produce need to be safe for human consumption. Luckily, many compounds edible to humans are irritating to animals.
If squirrels or chipmunks steal your fruits and vegetables, try brushing them with cayenne, horseradish, or other spicy peppers. This works best with non-porous items like tomatoes or produces you plan to peel. Mustard powder also works well and has the added benefit of being highly visible for easy removal.
Physical barriers are also effective for rainy climates where this solution isn’t practical.
Cats Marking The Garden
Although less common than disturbances from chipmunks, rabbits, and squirrels, scent-marking from outdoor cats can be an incredibly disruptive problem in a garden setting. Once one cat marks their territory in your space, others are attracted, and suddenly your garden can be a hotspot for stray and feral cats. This can help solve any rodent problems, but it will also decimate your songbird population and leave your property smelling less than pleasant.
Cat lovers can try planting lavender around the perimeter of their garden as cats dislike the scent. Citrus oils are also too strong for their sensitive noses; applying a lemon, lime, or orange essential oil to the ground and leaves of your plant each day can keep cats at bay. Consider purchasing bulk citrus oil used for cooking or essential oils used in diffusers and tinctures.
Physical options include lining your garden bed with rocks or covering it with textured netting intended to keep cats away. These things make walking on your garden soil unpleasant for cats without harming their paws.
Growing your plants and living in harmony with your local animal population can be inexpensive and straightforward. A small investment in natural ingredients can keep your garden safe and your conscience clear.
Hire a Professional Pest Control Company
If you find you are dealing with uninvited pests and wildlife animals and need professional help, contact NJ Pest Control. Our environmentally friendly, prompt and efficient pest and wildlife control services by a team of experts are here to help you promptly and efficiently.