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In Your Garden: Pest Management

It’s gardening time. How do you keep the critters from eating your produce, from defecating in the flower beds, from digging up the plants in the deck pots you just got going well, and just generally protect your property?

Start with rodents, squirrels, gophers, chipmunks and rabbits can cause a lot of damage to the garden. They will eat the peas as fast as they come up, nibble any green leaf, help themselves or to a strawberry desert. The best deterrent for these stinkers is used cat litter spread around the outside of the garden. Never put it in the garden. It can make you ill. The rodent smells that there has been a cat in the neighborhood, a natural predator of rodents. The critter can’t tell how big this cat is but he wants no truck with it no matter what the size.

Deer are another problem. To deter them, invest in some electric fence posts, the type you push in the soil with your foot. Line the area to be defended with them. Now wrap monofilament fish line, the heaviest you can find, around the poles, about 2 ½ feet from the ground. Deer run into it at night when they are wandering around looking for trouble. They run into the invisible line and it spooks them as they don’t know what it is. If you have electricity close to the garden, bend throw away aluminum pans in half and hang them over the hot fence. Butter the outside of the pan with peanut butter. Bambi smells the peanut butter, puts her damp nose on it and wowie! Bambi flies. A lower line with this treat will send the raccoons looking for an easier place to get fresh sweet corn.

Is a woodpecker attempting to drill a hole in your house? If you can reach the spot, smear it with tanglefoot. Or hang something from the roof that moves in the wind. If you are a good shot, get a super soaker water gun and give them a shot of water every time they sit on the house.

To keep cats from using your flowerbeds as litter boxes, scatter anything prickly, pine cones, bottle caps sharp side up, or lay chicken netting on top of the soil. The object is to make the area uncomfortable for their paws. The same trick will keep the chippies and squirrels from digging out the flowerpots. An inch of chicken grit on top of the soil or any small sharp rocks will hurt the digger’s feet. Chicken wire does the trick too.

Now that you have run off all your four legged problems, sit back, have a glass of iced tea and enjoy the summer.

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