Gardens can be a lot of work, and it’s hard not to take it personally when critters like deer and rabbits find a feast at your garden gate. After all, you’ve done all the hard work, beginning with starting seeds indoors, hardening off seedlings and transplanting them into the garden. You have visions of salads filled with tender, succulent lettuces and juicy ripe tomatoes for the first BLT of summer.
Then the deer come and wipe you out. Or it could be squirrels, or even insects like Japanese beetles, that attack your precious plants. Take heart, there are ways to protect your garden from pests of all kinds, and some of the most effective can be implemented early in the season.
Tip: Take five minutes a day to look for insect, disease and critter damage in your vegetable garden. Turn over leaves to see insects where they gather. By spotting invaders early, you can control pest damage.
Here are some tips to consider to help control pests in your garden and landscape.
Protect Your Garden from Pests
1. Plant perfume
Deer and rabbits are sensitive to scents. When you plan your garden, plant strong-smelling herbs like rosemary and lavender and funky vegetables like garlic on the perimeter of your garden to keep critters away from your vegetables and tender flowers.
2. Right plant, right place
Deer and rabbits favor the tender leaves of hostas and other flowers. Plant these tasty treats in high-traffic areas near your home to keep shy critters away. When selecting plants, keep in mind that deer don’t like plants that tickle their faces, such as plants with thorns, prickly leaves and stems; and plants with hair leaves or thick sap. Ornamental grasses and ferns are deer-repelling plant choices.
Other deer-proofing methods, many of which are eco-friendly, include hanging bags of human hair or bars of soap near the garden, contact repellents, area repellents and electric repellents sold in the Garden Center.
3. Pesky insects
If beetles, slugs, squash bugs and snails are a problem, consider using diatomaceous earth. This non-toxic powder kills insects within 48 hours. It’s an excellent organic defense against ants, earwigs, silverfish, millipedes and more. Although non-toxic, consider wearing a mask to avoid breathing it while dispensing.
How to apply diatomaceous earth:
- Apply the powder throughout the garden bed and the areas surrounding it.
- Sprinkle a thick ring of powder around the base of each plant.
- Sprinkle the powder on damp or newly watered vegetable plants after excess water drips from the plants.
4. Go big
If deer and other critters are a persistent problem, this garden enclosure may be the solution you need. Check out the video and step-by-step info.