Reader Questions: Help! Squirrels Are Eating My Garden!

Reader Questions: How Do I Keep The Squirrels From Eating My Garden?  Advice on making your garden less attractive to squirrels.

Image by Simon Howden | Freedigitalphotos.net

I get a lot of gardening questions from friends, and it’s always fun and challenging to help them.  So, I thought I’d start a new feature here on A Girl & A Garden where you can ask me questions too!  If you want to ask a question that will be featured in a future blog entry, you can either comment here OR visit the A Girl & A Garden Facebook page and post your question. To see answers to other reader questions, click here.

Today’s reader question comes from Laura, who asks “How do I keep the @$&#*%@!!! Squirrels from eating EVERYTHING I plant?”  Laura container gardens on her deck, which, she says, is a squirrel highway.

Squirrel Eating Habits

Generally, squirrels go after nuts, roots, bulbs and seeds.  The shouldn’t be very interested in, say, your fully grown tomato plant or peppers.  If you do notice that your vegetables are subject to snacking, it may be something other than squirrels.

Plant What They Don’t Like

Squirrels LOVE bulbs, especially tulip and crocus bulbs.  However, they don’t love all bulbs.  So, one way to squirrel proof your garden is to plant what they dislike.  An example is daffodils, which are a great way to squirrel proof because the bulbs are poisonous   You might also consider planting alliums, scilla  squill, or hyacinth.  Also keep in mind that sometimes squirrels aren’t eating the bulbs, they are digging them up to replace them with their own food, like black walnuts.

Cover Up

The fact that Laura uses containers is actually an advantage, because they are a small space she can cover.  She should invest in chicken wire or netting, making sure that all openings between the container and the covering are sealed.  This will also help protect the plants from other furry garden visitors!

Use Your Dog 

If you have a dog, and your dog loves being outside for long periods of time (and won’t damage your garden), you can use her as a squirrel deterrent.  Another option?  After you brush your dog, save the fur.  Put it in nylons, and put the nylons near your plants.  The doggy scent may deter the squirrels.

Use Toy Pinwheels

I saw this suggestion and, although I’m not sure how well it would work, it might be worth a try!  The movement of the pinwheel might make the squirrels think twice about approaching the garden, especially if you place them in the containers.

Does anybody else have any suggestions for Laura?  If you have squirrel issues, what techniques have you tried?

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4 thoughts on “Reader Questions: Help! Squirrels Are Eating My Garden!

    • It juuuust got warm enough for garden prep work where I live. There was a crazy early Spring snowstorm that hit us last minute :) Hope it warms up for you soon! And I REALLY hope you don’t have to deal with any squirrels!!

  1. I have mutant squirrels. : ) They no longer care about the dog or the dog smell. They also EAT EVERYTHING or decide they don’t want to eat it & either sit on it or rip the seedlings out. That being said, I tried the pinwheels. It looked cute, but my mutant squirrels don’t care. They still sat on my plants and wantonly threw the seedlings round. BUT, I should share this… I read a forum where people talked about raw garlic being useful. I peeled 3 cloves, and broke them up & left them in the containers and no squirrel activity until about 2 weeks later. I repeated and again the squirrels stayed away for about 2 weeks (I think that’s the period that the smell wears off). Now, thankfully, the plants are big enough that the mutant squirrels are not messing with them (I’ll wait until they produce).

  2. I feed them on my deck. That keeps them away from my raised beds and flower beds. I put out dry corn, acorns, chestnuts, black walnuts, and peanuts in the shell. I go to a local park to collect the acorns and nuts and buy the peanuts and corn in bulk for cheap prices. I also leave left over pumpkins from October out for them. So far my strategy has worked.for me for the 7 years I have lived in my house.

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