Published on March 27th, 2013 | by Becky Striepe1
Dealing with Garden Rodents in Your Urban Garden
Are squirrels and other rodents destroying your urban garden? Let’s talk about solutions, fellow gardenistas!
Growing your own food in a city seems to offer a unique set of challenges. From dealing with contaminated soil to just plain finding space to grow, city gardening requires a little bit of planning before you sprout any seeds or start digging.
This fall, my husband lovingly filled our raised bed with beautiful leafy greens. We had kale, spinach, collards…all of our favorite things! The plants were thriving, and I couldn’t wait to add greens I grew to my smoothies or saute them up for supper.
One morning, I was taking the dog out to do…dog business…and when I looked at our beautiful raised bed, it was just a series of holes. There was not a single plant left! Some savvy critter – maybe a squirrel? maybe something else? – had ripped out all of our veggies, and the only evidence that there had been a garden at all were the rows of holes in the dirt.
Controlling Garden Rodents
Obviously, critters are a problem in all kinds of gardens, but in town, the rat and squirrel populations seem to be the biggest issue. Since that incident, I’ve been doing some digging to see how to keep rodents from digging up my food! Here are a few of the tips I’ve found:
- Sprinkle your beds with cayenne pepper. Give those rodents a hot foot!
- Plant garlic. Companion planting is great for pest control, and folks say that rodents don’t like the smell of garlic.
- Build a barrier. Some folks recommend chicken wire, but if rats or mice are your problem, they can sometimes still get through even those tiny holes. One recommendation that looks really good is building a cover for your garden using a screen, just like the screen that you’d put over a window.
- Feed them. If you can’t beat ‘em, feed ‘em! Lure rodents away from your precious plants by putting a squirrel feeder in your yard. Let them eat seeds instead of raiding your rows of tomatoes!
Have you guys found any methods for keeping rodents out of your urban gardens? I’d love to hear more ideas in the comments!