Raised garden beds are a popular choice for growing fruits and vegetables. They offer a range of benefits such as improved soil quality, pest management, and easier access for gardeners with physical limitations. However, they are not immune to pests, particularly squirrels, who can destroy the fruits of your labor. Here are nine proven methods to keep squirrels out of your raised garden beds.
1. Install a Physical Barrier
Constructing a physical barrier around your garden bed is a reliable way of deterring squirrels. You can use materials such as chicken wire, hardware cloth, or mesh screening to enclose your garden bed. Bury the barrier below the soil to prevent squirrels from digging under it. Ensure that the barrier is at least two feet high to prevent the squirrels from jumping over it.
2. Use Repellents
Squirrels dislike certain smells, and you can use this to your advantage by using repellent sprays. Commercially available deer repellent sprays, which contain capsaicin (the compound responsible for the heat in chili peppers), can work well and are safe for garden use. Alternatively, you can make your own squirrel repellent spray by mixing cayenne pepper, minced garlic, and dish soap and spraying it on your plants and around your garden bed. Remember to reapply after rain or watering.
3. Set up a Motion-activated Sprinkler System
Motion-activated sprinkler systems can detect squirrels’ movement and trigger a burst of water to scare them away. These systems are effective and humane, as they do not harm the squirrels. They also work well for other pests such as raccoons and deer.
4. Use Netting
Netting is a physical barrier that can protect your garden bed from squirrels. Place the netting over the plants and secure it with staples or twine. You can use bird netting or deer netting, depending on the size of the mesh.
5. Create Distractions
Squirrels are attracted to tasty treats, and you can use this to your advantage by creating a diversion. Set up a squirrel feeder away from your garden bed and stock it with squirrel-friendly foods such as nuts and seeds. The squirrels will be more likely to focus on the feeder than your garden bed.
6. Plant Squirrel-repellent Plants
Certain plants are known to repel squirrels, and you can use them in your garden bed. Examples include daffodils, alliums, hyacinths, and garlic. Plant these plants around the perimeter of your garden bed or interplant them with your edible plants.
7. Use Predator Urine
Squirrels are naturally afraid of predators, and you can use this to your advantage by using predator urine. You can purchase predator urine from garden stores or use your dog’s urine if you have a dog. Spread the urine around your garden bed to deter squirrels.
8. Use Electronic Repellents
Electronic repellents emit ultrasonic or high-frequency sounds that are not audible to humans but are annoying to squirrels. These repellents come in different forms such as stake-mounted devices, motion-activated devices, or wall-mounted units.
9. Harvest Your Vegetables Early
Squirrels often target ripening fruits and vegetables, and you can prevent this by harvesting them early. As soon as your fruits and vegetables reach maturity, pick them and store them in a safe place away from squirrels.
Squirrels can be a problem for raised garden beds, but there are many ways to prevent them from damaging your plants. From physical barriers to repellents to harvesting your vegetables early, there are effective solutions at your disposal. By implementing the tips above, you can enjoy a flourishing garden without worrying about pesky squirrels.