I guess I’ve found what works for me!
As you know, I have had a problem with keeping squirrels out of the garden, especially those pests who seem to find the best hiding places for their nuts in my hypertufa troughs. It can get so frustrating trying to win this battle.
I have had ants which are pretty annoying. I hate to think they are still out there waiting for me, but I haven’t seen them in a while. But that’s probably because it has become too cold for them. I can hear them giggling underground.
On the other hand, squirrels or chipmunks let me know daily that they are thriving in the garden. Hole diggers! Yes, I know we share the earth with these little creatures, but I hate to go out and find that I have been invaded!
And why are my troughs and bowls so attractive to bury nuts or go spelunking or whatever? There is a lot of dirt around, fences to dig under, even the deck is there for them to get under…………and they do! Believe me!
We are constantly finding a big green husk of a black walnut brought up on to the deck to chow down! Those nuts are way out back and not at all near my garden, so why do those critters haul it all the way up here, climb the steps, climb up on the rail and destroy the husk around the nut, leaving all the “tailings” scattered around the deck. ( Sorry, I have been watching Gold Rush.)
Two years ago, I decided to use bird netting to try to keep the squirrels out of the garden. I am trying to surround the troughs and some planters which seem to be of particular interest to those squirrels. I put the netting around the trough and tucked it underneath. I put heavy rocks on the side of the planter to anchor down the netting. And guess what? It worked. I was afraid the squirrels might gnaw a hole in it and go ahead and dig anyway, but they didn’t! Wonderful!
In the other planters, I have surrounded them with the netting and then tied a cord around the planter to prevent them from dragging it off and getting inside anyway. Maybe you think they won’t try that, but tell that to the raccoons who figured out and bypassed a bungee cord which was holding the top of the garbage can down!
I don’t hang a bird feeder in the middle of the garden, neither summer nor winter. The feeder I hang is located in a tree away from all the garden beds. And there are many trees around here with nuts, berries, and I guess the small mice and animals and insects which should keep them attracted to sources away from the house. But I guess they can’t help but come and dig in my hyperufa planters. Maybe because the soil is loose and easy to dig? Hopefully my bird netting will continue to work.
The bird netting is a nylon netting with holes about the size of chicken wire holes. It is soft and easy to handle and I have folded and re-used each year. I have used hardware cloth to lay down over an area where I plant bulbs. In the spring, when the bulbs start poking up out of the ground, I just remove it and that works. So I am hoping I can prevent the little bulbs of squill (Puschkinia libanotica) and dwarf iris ( iris reticulata), and of course, a lot of crocus (crocus longiflorus) from being dug up and eaten.
I have high hopes this year, but I guess I will know by spring whether or not the rodents have dined all winter on my bulbs. Wish me luck.
How do you fight squirrels and chipmunks in your garden? Did you have any success?