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Dear Editor,

How do you keep wild animals from eating your garden? I have deer and rabbits invading my garden, and woodpeckers are tearing up my blueberries. What can I do?

Helpless

 

Dear Helpless,

You can try one of several methods. Bright shiny objects that glitter and make noise can help—things like aluminum pie pans and old CDs. I’ve seen grocery bags tied to posts or stakes work (as they will move and crinkle when the wind blows). Fencing in your garden will work, and adding an electric strand or two to the mix is even better. One electric strand around 18 inches off the ground and another about 36 inches off the ground will deter most animals.

Some people swear by human hair scattered around the garden, replenishing it every few weeks so the scent is always there. Some folks swear that dryer sheets, placed on a stake, will deter deer. And then there’s the urine approach. Sprinkling your garden spot with your urine indicates a territorial marking, which gives most animals pause.

Sprays made with pepper or hot spices can also be a deterrent, as can a sprinkler set up on a motion detector. A startling dose of water straight in the face can make a deer or rabbit turn the other way.

And then there are people who have dogs. I have one, and he’s great at alerting me when the mailman drives up, but he’s useless for garden patrol. He doesn’t even raise his head when the deer walk by anymore.

The thing is, no one method is good all by itself. Use several methods to keep your garden safe.

What say you, readers? Do you have tried and true methods you’ve used to keep pesky animals out of your garden? Write in and let us know!

The Editor

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Dear Editor,

Please let me know of an ant killer for my organic garden beds. Several of my beds this year have been infested with these ants. I have tried grits and also cayenne pepper to no avail.

CT—

 

Dear CT,

One of the most effective organic ant killers is diatomaceous earth. This powder actually cuts through the body of the insect, absorbs the moisture of the ant’s body, and kills it. However, you’ll need to reapply if it gets wet.

Another suggestion is to find their nest (or nests) and kill them by pouring one of the following solutions on it. However, just be aware this will have an effect on grass or plants in the vicinity.

  • 1/4 cup liquid dish detergent per gallon of boiling water (add soap AFTER water is removed from heat).
  • Pour large amounts of cider vinegar down inside the mound. Repeat for three days. (This will kill grass and plants too.)
  • Make a salt solution with boiling water and salt and pour down the nest.
  • Flood their home with lots of water on a regular basis. Do this daily for a week or two. The ants will eventually move.

If any of our other readers would like to chime in with their suggestions, please feel free to write!

The Editor

 

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