Raised vegetable beds are safe from flooding or trampling, but those pesky critters can be a nuisance. What can you do? There are simple tricks to protect your garden.
How to keep the birds away?
- Scarecrow. You can have a lot of fun building your own. The more it resembles a human, the better. It is more efficient if it can rotate with the wind, as birds are afraid of the movement. Sometimes birds can get used to the scarecrow and learn to ignore it.
- Reflective foil. Aluminum foil works, but for the best results use the blue one. You can utilize some plastic shopping bags. Cut the foil into an inch wide strips and attach them to the long piece of string. Secure it around your raised vegetable bed. Moving objects glistening in the sun will scare the birds away.
- Plastic net. Build a scaffolding over your raised bed and cover it with a net. Make sure you attach the net well to the frame of the bed, so that no bird can sneak underneath it. Choose a dark green colour for the best visual effect. While this solution takes most work, it is the most efficient one. Why? There is no risk of the birds getting through the net. It does not distress the birds, so you can keep enjoying their presence your garden.
How to keep the small critters away?
- Wire or net fence. Use it to surround the perimeter of the garden area. At least eight inches of the fence should be under the surface of the ground, as critters will try to dig ot squeeze underneath it.
- Garlic chips. Install the chips emitting concentrated smell of garlic around the raised vegetable bed you wish to protect. Rabbits hate that scent and will be repelled by it.
- Used cooking oil. Pour it near the vegetable patch or rub into the outside of the frame. See that the oil has no contact with the roots, because it can poison your plants.
- Noise. Sounds that can not be found in nature will scare off critters. You can buy a small, solar powered radio, turn it on and place next to your crops. Even at the low volume it will do the job.
How to keep the deer away?
- Soap. Hang the cubes of strong smelling soap, no further than 8 feet from each other. They should form an aromatic wall along the perimeter of your garden. Deer dislike the smell and will not approach.
- Hot peppers. You can also create such a wall with the hot peppers. Animal are curious enough to taste it and leave after getting a nasty surprise.
- Human hairs. Animals are afraid of the strong human smell emitted by hairs. Just a few of them spread on the raised bed will keep the deer away.
- Water sprinklers. Install a movement sensitive sprinkler near the raised beds. After receiving a shower, deer will remember to avoid the place. Just remember to turn it off before entering a garden, or you will get yourself wet.
As you see, with a few tricks you can keep those pesky critters away from your raised vegetable beds. Install some protective measures now and do not worry about safety of your plants.
For more tips about raised vegetable beds care, see the information about square foot gardening.
Dominika Styczynska is an avid gardener with years of experience. She shares tips and advice on her website about growing vegetables.