Fellow gardeners unite! We have nothing to lose but our green beans and day lilies!
Backyard gardening is growing in popularity as more and more people discover the relaxing therapy of working the soil and enjoying the delightful taste of fresh vegetables and fruits, and the beauty of flowering plants. Plus, the vegetables are healthier and fresher than anything available at a super market. Cheaper, too.
However, the critters of Central Virginia also have developed a fondness for backyard vegetables and flowers and often, as soon as the fruits of our labors appear, they are eaten by the deer, squirrels, rabbits or birds.
But not this year! This backyard gardener has declared war on his adversaries and I have armed myself with information and ammunition. For starters, it’s always important to identify the enemy and squirrels are almost as bad as deer. A problem I have had in past gardening seasons comes the day after I have planted and the squirrels assume that the freshly tilled rows are part of their private sandbox. Within a day or two, the rascally rodents have dug dozens of holes and seem to delight in uncovering onion bulbs, just to find out what’s down there. Not this year.
This year, I managed to get my garden plowed and planted with early bearing crops in mid March, but as soon as I sewed the last radish seed, I spread a healthy layer of a product called Shot-Gun Repels-All and I haven’t had a single squirrel-dig in two weeks and counting.
This animal repellent comes in granular form and won’t harm birds or animals, but it sure keeps them away. The product contains a combination of dried blood, garlic and other ingredients that cause a mild irritation to nasal passages. It is effective in deterring crows, deer, chipmunks, groundhogs, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, rats, skunks and shrews. Works on armadillos, too, if you have that problem.
When the intruders touch, taste or smell this product, they leave the building and lose their desire to return. Knock on wood, so far Repel-All is doing its job, but as a vineyard owner once advised, you need to vary any repellant since the varmints will often becomes accustomed to it and will tolerate it in order to get to the goodies. So I plan to switch to another repellant in a few weeks, Ortho’s Animal B Gon, a proven retardant. The goal is to break the animal’s habit of visiting your garden or flower spots, and a combination of products work best.
Continuing on the squirrel-in-the-garden theme, a huge problem I have had in the past is with my tomatoes. The squirrels seem to delight in waiting until the day before a tomato is fully ripe, then they pluck it off the vine, take a bite or two and move on to another destructive project. But keeping the squirrels out from the get-go insures a bumper crop of juicy red tomatoes.
As I said, this is war!
In the meantime, Happy Gardening.