Several years ago, my boyfriend surprised me by creating a large vegetable garden in his backyard for me to cultivate. I was thrilled since I was an apartment dweller at the time and didn’t have a garden. I visited him on weekends and watched as my lettuce, carrots, beans and squash started to appear. One weekend, I noticed the lettuce was about 2″-3″ high and I started imagining the salads I would make with it in the next few weeks. On the following weekend, I went into the backyard and was shocked to see that the garden was completely empty! My boyfriend sheepishly explained to me that the rabbits that visited his backyard in the evenings had discovered it and had a feast! Obviously, we had not taken measures to protect our precious crops!
After all the hard work you do to grow your own vegetables, you don’t want animals dropping by in the middle of the night to chomp away at your harvest. Read further to learn about tips to keep animals out of your vegetable garden.
Include Plants Animals Don’t Like
Many animals do not like marigolds, azalea, peonies, daffodils or boxwood so you’ll want to add these plants to your garden. Plant these along the perimeter of your garden to ward off animals.
Spray Your Garden
Coyote Urine Spray
Many gardening experts advise using coyote urine spray on your garden to scare other animals away. You should be able to find coyote urine spray at Bass Pro Shops, Canadian Tire or at Wildlife Control Supplies. Spray the coyote urine around the edges of your garden. Many sprays will need to be applied often, as rain or moisture will wash them away.
You can also make your own spray to keep animals out of your vegetable garden. You will need the following items:
- Spray bottle from the Dollar Store filled almost to the top with water (don’t use an old spray bottle that contained chemicals as this may harm animals and plants)
- 1 Tablespoon dish soap
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce or crushed red pepper
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
Combine all of the above items in your spray bottle and spray on the ground near plants in the evening before animals appear. Note: Try to spray near the plant, not directly on its leaves.
Spray after a rainfall or every 2-3 days. Stop spraying once you see that there are no more animal bite marks on leaves.
Add a Fence Around Your Garden
A fence is a great way to keep animals out of your vegetable garden. You can use wood, metal or plastic to build your fence. You’ll have to install fence posts to wrap the fence around. If you have animals that burrow under fences, bury about 1′ of your fence underground to prevent them from entering your garden.
Build a Raised Bed
Plant your vegetables in a raised bed to prevent animals from getting in. You can either buy a prefabricated raised bed at Home Depot or Rona or make one yourself out of wooden planks, bricks and concrete blocks. An added bonus is weeding your garden will be easier with a raised bed. Follow these steps:
- Your raised bed should be at least two feet off the ground to keep animals out;
- Add a layer of mesh fencing at the bottom of your fence to keep animals from burrowing under the fence;
- Add a fence and cover to your raised bed.
Eliminate Hiding Places Near Your Garden
In general, animals like places where they can hide so make sure you do not have any of the following near your garden:
- Lots of weeds or heavy plant cover provide a comfortable place for animals to hide so you want to avoid having any of this foliage close to your garden.
- If you have a woodpile in your backyard, ensure that it is far from your garden.
- Keep bushes or shrubs near your garden pruned so that they are not too tall or better yet, relocate them to another section of your yard.