How do you garden with pests around??


Old 08-23-15, 12:03 AM
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How do you garden with pests around??

Hi everyone,

To start off, I live in Southern California, San Diego area with 1 acre of land. There are a lot of bunnies, rats, crows and maybe a few other nocturnal pests I don't see around here.

Last year I had a few potted tomatoes, and cucumbers with some eggplants and herbs in my garden beds and everything grew fine for the most part.

This year, the temperatures are higher, it's raining less and my crops are getting destroyed by pests. Specifically the potted tomatoes, strawberries and cucumbers are being picked off before they are even fully developed.

I have tried setting mouse traps, conibear 110 traps for the bunnies (got a few, but the strawberries are still getting picked off by them) and old CDs hanging on a fishing line to keep the crows away.

I am not sure what else to do to keep these guys out. The sure proof way is to only plant inside a fully enclosed garden bed using chicken wire and lots of PVC. However that is not a cheap solution. I did that on two garden beds by creating a 4 foot tall chicken wire lid to cover them.

I have seen gardens on YouTube that are not fully enclosed, and they are full of produce. I'm sure there are pests there.. rats, bunnies, raccoons, and crows are basically everywhere. How is this done? I don't want to use chemicals. Do I have to sit here and watch my crop with a pellet rifle (legal in my town, I've checked with the Sheriff)? With this extensive drought we have, I'd rather not waste my water on plants that will only feed the pests.

All solutions and suggestions welcome!
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Old 08-23-15, 01:13 AM
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Do you believe in God? If you do then remember that what you refer to as pests are simply more of God's children.

Trapping is cruel and inhumane. Pellet guns are rarely a quick death. More likely as not the forebears of the "pests" were living in the area long before you and quite possibly before any humans. You have invaded "their" land.

Before Squirmy (a serial murderer cat) came to live with me I fed the local birds. Sure, squirrels would also come to eat and I found the best way to dissuade them from the bird feeders was to offer them their own food some distance from the bird feeders. I would have opossums come at night to eat the dry cat food as well as raccoons and it was ONLY the raccoons that caused any problems and that was solved by merely discontinuing the practice of leaving out the cat food.

I once read an account of a man that, like you, was trying to maintain a garden yet the local wildlife thought of his garden as the local snack bar. This man, like you, tried various forms of fencing and repellents to find that NOTHING would absolutely protect his garden from the animals. He thought about it long and hard and finally came up with the idea that he could have two gardens, one for himself and his family and one for the animals. He put up deterrents such as fencing and other things around HIS garden but left the rest open. The animals mostly left his garden alone and ate from the open garden and everyone was happy and lived in peace.

Think about it.
Old 08-23-15, 06:54 AM
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Furd, that was a nice sermon, but reality needs to be used here. And please, I'm very much against animal cruelty and all that other jazz. The OP needs practical solutions to keeping out the vermin. Creating another garden for them might work but doing double work is not practical.

Zyclone, As you said "...plant inside a fully enclosed garden bed using chicken wire and lots of PVC."
Costly and lots of work? Yes the first time. But once it's built the cost is no longer there. If you have a dog, let him do his business near by and let stay for a few days. Same thing for a cat.
Old 08-23-15, 07:03 AM
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Plant low growing marigolds to keep rabbits at bay. They can't stand the smell. It may work on others, too.
Old 08-23-15, 07:15 AM
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Some combination of an enclosed garden for you and another for them isn't all that difficult. The other garden doesn't need to be tended as much and could simply be seeded broadcast style. If it yields any produce all the better.

I don't have a variety to offer for animal deterrent, but a recent article locally talked about sweet grass as a natural mosquito repellent. Perhaps there are plants that could surround your garden and help. I will have to do some searching.
Here is a nice article I just found:
How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden : HGTV Gardens

Old 09-05-15, 03:26 AM
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Here's what I did

Seems to work pretty good, but does take some effort:

Critter Proof Gardern

Old 09-17-15, 04:55 PM
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I've had a lot of experience with this problem... deer, rabbits, squirrels, gophers are my enemies. It's silly to consider feeding them since with more food they just expand their family size. Enclosing the garden or containers is the only thing that will work and give you peace of mind. Electric fencing will also work but if there are trees squirrels might be able to drop in from above and avoid the electric shock...although when they try to leave(after dinner) they will be surprised. For fruit trees I've combined electric fence and stucco wire enclosures, and even wire baskets around clusters of fruit. Growing vegetables in containers inside of wires cylinders is a bit of a pain, especially when you have spider mites or aphids (I spray them with Safer's Soap, I don't use pesticides). But I have no choice, the squirrels will eat most unprotected plants, especially young tender ones. I've also been putting cayenne pepper powder on the plants that grow through the wire cylinders...I don't know yet how well that works.

It will always cost money, but the lest expensive and best quality chicken wire is called stucco can buy it at Home Depot and Lowes in 150 ft rolls (36" high) for about $50. It's made in the USA for the construction trade and is much better quality than the chinese chicken wire. And it looks nicer also.

I have 8'x4', five feet high above ground planting boxes that I've enclosed using the stucco wire and 1" pvc pipes. You need to do it in a way that you have fairly easy access. Individual containers I put inside wire cylinders. For individual ones you need to use aviary wire(1/2' holes) since squirrels can reach through the 1" holes in the stucco/chicken wire. I've even grown corn in containers with wire cylinders surrounding the group of 5 containers (4 plants in each container) and extending the cylinder upward as the corn grows.

I use Hav-a-Hart traps to keep the squirrel pressure down, but many times the squirrels will eat your plants first and then find their way into the traps. That's why you can't go without the enclosures.

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