How To Protect Your Garden From Pests
If you are a gardener like me, the chances are good that you have lost your fair share of crops to pests. There are so many pests, rodents, bugs, and animals that want to eat your garden that it can be a never ending struggle to get any food for yourself. Here are my best tips for keeping your food to your family and keeping the pests out of your garden.
Deer - A high fence is your best bet for keeping deer out. They can jump eight feet so the higher the better if you really have a deer problem. We have a five foot fence and have never had a deer enter our garden though. I probably shouldn't have said that! Deer do not have good eyesight, so you can use that to your advantage. Even if your fence is high, or you have no fence at all, you can run rope around your garden and either hang old CD's (they glimmer and shine and move so they scare the deer) or tie white strips of cloth to the rope. This will make the deer think the fence is higher than it really is and also trick them, so they won't try to jump it.
Another option if you want to avoid a permanent fence is to run fishing line around the garden at various heights. The deer can't see it, but they will hit it when they walk and it will scare them and keep them out of your garden. Another thing I do to keep the deer completely away from my garden is to sprinkle human hair around the outside. They don't like the scent and stay away. I just save my boys' hair when I cut it.
Rabbits and chipmunks -Our fence is made from 4x4's with metal fencing around it. This could allow smaller animals like rabbits and chipmunks in. So on top of that we ran small mesh chicken wire around the bottom three feet and now they can't squeeze through.
Moles - We have square foot garden boxes. We also have a huge mole problem in our yard. Before adding dirt to your garden box, lay down a tight piece of mesh chicken wire. This will prevent animals that live underground from burrowing up into your box.
Birds - If you have berry bushes or fruit trees then I am sure you have had birds steal your food before. In this case one of the only things that can be done is to net things. We have a net we lay over our strawberries, nets for our blueberries and a large net for our cherry tree. They aren't the prettiest things, but from the street you really don't even notice them. Another option you can try is to have things in your garden that move with the wind. These can scare pests away, but I have found birds get used to them quickly and they aren't that effective.
Insects - Some bugs are beneficial, but many will eat your garden vegetables or flowers. They are small and may be hardly noticeable but can destroy an entire vegetable crop in what seems like a matter of hours. The best way to handle insects in your garden is to plant things that will either deter the bad bugs or attract the good bugs. For instance, ladybugs and preying mantis are both good bugs that like to eat bad bugs. Of course there are many different bugs that eat many different plants so you need to research this topic based on exactly what you plant in your garden. If you have a low growing crop like strawberries, a row cover is a great way to keep out insects.
Gardening season is upon us and the pests are looking forward to it. They are doing what comes naturally to them to survive. Use these tips to help them survive in someone else's garden.