Hot pepper, toilet paper tubes and Irish Spring

A list of 13 ways to deter pests and creatures from your garden.

gardendsc_0006This is what it all comes down to.  A few simple items that will either make or break our summer garden fort, made with Jack and the Beanstalk beans. I’ve been reading with horror about the varmints and diseases that will likely attack my pests once I place the plants for our 20-foot bean fort into their final growing spot at the lake. Lord knows, there are plenty of creatures up there willing to take a snack out of our foilage. The list includes deer, skunk, rabbits, groundhogs — all hungry, and ready to eat the plants.

Birth of 20 foot bean fort

So after fear, there comes great courage;, if you do your part to gather some research and facts. Good results come easier when you’re open yourself to moving with the flow of life, rather than against it. So, knowing that my kids will be eating many of the plants from the fort, and tromping among them with their hands and feet, I’m shying away from pesticides and herbicides. I’m going to be enviornmentally friendly, and organic, with my pest deterrent approach. Hopefully, the animals will sense what we’re trying to do and work with us to keep the plants safe. Ha! I can dream, can’t I?

This is what I’ve come up with:

  1. Epsom salts sprinkled on the plants will make them bitter tasting to groundhogs and rabbits. The advantage to this method is that Epsom Salts can also be used to fertilize the plants. The downside, of course, is that the rain will wash away the Epsom salts, and I won’t be there to sprinkle more Salts, as we’ll return from the lake to tie up the school year. But, I’ll use it as long as I can.
  2. Ammonia-soaked rags can be strewn along the perimeter of the garden, forming a stinky barrier to repel groundhogs, rabbits, skunks and opossoms. I am no stranger to this treatment. Once again, this will fade before I can reapply the treatment.
  3. The reason the Groundhog is afraid of its shadow is obviously because he’s a fraidy cat. So, they run from any thing with motion. I might try hanging aluminum foil strips or pie pans from chicken wire. Pinwhells can even work, I’ve read.
  4. Always, the best solution, I’ve learned is simply a fence. Using chickenwire, the fence will need to be buried underground, at least 12-18 inches, and 2 feet above the ground.
  5. Plastic netting works for deer, raccons and opossoms. The idea is to string the netting on bamboo poles, leaving about 8 inches in front of hte garden, laid out in front like a mat. Racoons have senstive feet, and they don’t like walking across the netting.
  6. Dial deodorant soap, and Irish Spring soap contains “tallow” which repels deer. Soap made with coconut oil will not repel the deer. Here’s the trick: Leave the soap in the package, to prevent the rain from washing away the soap too quickly. Drill holes in the soap so that you can run a string through the soap to hang them from trees, or the fence erected to get rid of groundhogs. Plan on one bar of soap for every three feet.
  7. Castor oil is supposed to keep moles, groundhogs, chipmunks and squirrels away. Here’s a recipe. 1 tablespoon of Castor oil. 2 tablespoons liquid dish washing soap, 6 tablespoons of water. Put oil and soap in blender and mix until you have shaving cream. Add water, and continue to mix. Pour concoction in watering can, and pour over the yard. Again, the problem with this is, you must re-apply after the rain.
  8. A horizontal border could be as simple as laying down crumpled black plastic, newspaper or aluminium foil, held in placed with rocks. Raccoons and skunks hate to walk on this stuff.
  9. I could sprinkle black and cayenne pepper around plants to keep rabbits away. This also works for insects that eat plants. Lucky for me, I can buy a solution called Hot Pepper Wax that will adhere to the plants, and not wash away after rains. The company recommends you reapply every three weeks. This one will work.
  10. Plant cucumbers. Raccoons and skunks hate cucumbers. But I wonder what will eat the cucumbers instead?
  11. This one is my favorite… for slugs. Cut paper towel or toilet paper cardboard tubes and push them into the ground, around the plants, so that slugs can’t reach the stems, or the leaves! Pus the tubes into the ground so that the sleeve of the tube protects the plant from beneath, comes above the around at least 4 inches around the stem of the plant.
  12. There’s no way around making this Manure Tea. Apparently, it prevents seedlings from getting diseases. Recipe: 1 shovel full of fresh or aged manure. 1 burlap bag. 1 5-gallon bucket of water. Put manure in bag. Tie the bag shut and put in bucket, and fill bucket. Leave a handle on the burlap outside the bucket, dry, so you can pull it out. Let the tea sit for 2-3 days, then pull out the tea bag. This tea is too strong to put directly on seedlings, so before using the tea, dilute it with more water, so that it looks like weak iced tea. Now, the diluted tea can be sprinkled over the seedlings.
  13. Hydrogen Peroxide Spray. If a fungal or bacterial disease his hit the plants, despite the manure tea, I’ll make this spray. 1 Tablespoon of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide. 1 gallon of water. Mix the hydrogen peroxide into the water. Wear gloves when using this. You can use this to prevent disease, by spraying once a week, (or more if it’s raining a lot). But, they caution to wait until transplants are established before these are sprayed.

This is going to be a lot of work. But, I’m up for it. So, any ideas you’d care to pass on from your own experience? I need them!

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40 comments to “Hot pepper, toilet paper tubes and Irish Spring”
  1. My father who loved gardening both flowers and fruits/veggies…used tobacco. All kinds…and it worked like a charm!! For cutworms even.

    Great list.

    Stop by mine if you have time!!

  2. I bet you’ll have a serious garden. I only like to garden in April and October! But that doesn’t work very well.

  3. Great list, I garden, but my yard is fenced in and my garden is fenced in too. I do use Sevin Dust in the garden around the plants to help control the nasty plant eating bugs, but other than that, I am pretty natural with gardening. My TT is up too.

  4. Any idea what keeps the bugs away? With a rooftop container garden groundhogs and deer aren’t much of an issue (we don’t have them anyway), but the bugs are decimating my herbs!

  5. You come up with the best stuff. We have not gotten more extreme than window boxes we can bring in and cabbage leaves to distract slugs and hoping against hope!

  6. wow very interesting. Thanks for all the information. I hope they work for you and I’m going to do a couple myself. Hope they work. Happy TT

  7. Fence, fence, go for the fence! Thanks for all of the other ideas – think I’ll skip the Manure Tea–there’s enough weird stuff to deal with just raising three boys and having a labrador retriever. Manure, I definitely don’t need more of, even though I’m sure it works fantastically.

  8. From what I’ve heard the all time best pest deterrent is human piss. Give your boys lots of lemonade and send them out to the garden to write their names.

  9. this will be really helpful for me this summer with our veggie garden. Thanks!

    i’ve also heard that putting out shallow plates of beer kills slugs and snails, they crawl in for a drink and drown

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  18. Found this site while looking for a good way to keep the goldfinches from eating holes in my chard. Hung aluminum pans, that stopped ’em for about 3 hrs. Guess I have to go back to the fruit netting.
    Love all your remedies for the various pests. Other than the finches, my big problem is earwigs. Read to use shallow pans of vegetable oil. Didn’t get any earwigs, but it attracted a bear! He/she lifted up the fruit netting and draped it on the PVC pipe frame. (I quit using oil).
    With a garden, it’s always something, but I will just keep at it.

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  20. I put out Irish Spring this year around my oak leaf hydrangeas because deer ate the new budding blooms last year. Seemed to work but I also put it around some other plants and the rabbits or something “?” loves it. Every morning I find teeth marks and claw marks in the soap and it has been removed from the box!!

  21. I read that the pepper sprays are toxic to bees. Also, I heard the rabbits can scratch and damage their eyes if they get it on them. So, I’d take that suggestion out if I were you. Thanks! Might have to try the Irish Spring. I think I have deer and those pesky chipmunks eating my flowers. GRRRR!

  22. I’d love to see pictures of your garden with pinwheels, floating pie pans, and foil or plastic hanging from around it all. For me I love the farmers market… 🙂

  23. I feed a stray cat daily. I found a groundhog eating her food. I can’t fence my yard off to keep the groundhog away, the cat won’t have access. What can I do to prevent this critter from eating the poor cats food??

  24. Daaang, does NO ONE proofread anymore?! Some pretty good ideas to try, but please, please proofread EVERYTHING. I hope you’re doing a better job of proofreading before publishing now, 14 years later. Ouch.

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