Thursday, June 23, 2011

Weird Ways to Deter Pesky Pests From Your Home Garden

Here on the streets of Seattle, the only wild fauna I ever encounter is the occasional sneaky raccoon or opossum scurrying down my alleyway. However, if you live in a suburban or more rural area and are growing a garden, you will have to worry about losing your hard work to hungry critters. The main offenders will most likely be birds, deer and rodents. In The Encyclopedia of Country Living, you'll find some standard methods for tackling pests, as well as some more unusual ones, courtesy of Carla Emery.

If birds are a risk, there are several ways to deter them, including purchasing a bird control net that you can stretch over your garden. Carla suggests trying an old-fashioned method, which might be fun to make - the scarecrow:

"A well-made scarecrow that moves in a breeze really will help keep them away, especially if you supply it with real people-clothes, shiny foil hanging strips for 'hands,' and a foil face."

If you live in a suburban area, you have probably seen deer in your garden or lawn. Although beautiful to look at, their increasing population is making them bolder as they search for food. To keep your garden safe from deer can be tricky, Carla recommends high fencing to keep them out. Or, you can try one of these effective methods:

"Other deer deterrents are human hair, human urine, and rotten eggs. Ask your local barber or hairdresser to save cut hair for you; spread that around the outside edge of your garden. (Put out fresh hair every few weeks.) Or break rotten eggs around that garden edge. Or send the family's males to urinate around that garden perimeter. Or blast music. Or bring home lion and bear manure from the local zoo and spread it around the perimeter. Or spray garden veggies with hot pepper spray. Or any combination of these."

Rodents will also try to eat up your crops before you can get to it. Gophers and moles are two creatures that exasperate many a gardener. Traps, poison gases, or bait can eliminate them, all of which you can purchase at any garden supply store. Or, try gum:

"One old-timer kills the gophers around his eastern Oregon garden with gum. He digs down to a part of the hole under the mound. He unwraps the gum (don't touch it and leave your scent), and puts 2 sticks down in the hole. He uses large leaves (or paper) to cover the hole where he dug down, and puts dirt on top of that. (Block the light, but don't cover the gum with dirt.) Only one kind of gum works for this. It's 'juicy' and 'fruity.'"

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