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Varmints in the garden

06/15/2013 in pests

When we aren’t able to fence the varmints out, we can try to discourage the animals by making our plants unpleasant to the taste.

For deer and rabbits, I generally get very good results with an egg mixture… mix an egg or two in a blender of water, use a water sprinkling can to apply).
Reading most ‘deer-away’ commercial ingredient lists usually turns up egg solids as the effective ingredient.

eggs
I make my own.

I use a fork to mix the eggs and water, but you can use a blender… if you are willing to clean up the mess afterwards…
Sprinkle the mixture over all the affected plants. Try to get all the leaves wet.

Unfortunately, some of the problem animals like eggs!

caged-mouse

I caught this mouse in a squirrel cage, baited with carrots… Rats and mice will eat our plants, and they’re not gonna be bothered by eggs.

I’m getting some good results with datura and brugmansia.

teaI collect some leaves, stems, and/or roots, and cook up a nice herbal tea for the critters. after it cools, I’ll mix with some additional water… 1:1 and treat the plants that are being consumed.

It’s on you whether you chose to apply this solution to the vegetable garden.
Some people are terrified of the daturas/brugmansias.
They talk about the potential for the vegetables to absorb the toxins, as some studies seem to suggest about the insecticides and herbicides.
If you already use chemicals in your garden, you are unlikely to be concerned about this far-fetched possibility.

To all the organic people, datura and brugmansia are organic, and in my experience, they wash off with the first rain, and the critters begin eating those treated plants immediately.

sweet-potato
These sweet potato plants were immediately set upon the day after the rain.

Finally…

Tender-hearted gardeners aren’t making friends with catch and release.
With a very few exceptions, catch and release is a bad idea.
If you don’t want the varmint at your house, I certainly don’t want it at mine.

I’ve heard people claim that nobody lives anywhere near where they dump their catches.
They really don’t know that… and,  could be disrupting the balance of the critters that live there with all that dumping.

Those new critters are going to be in competition with the critters that are already there, for available food resources.

It’s often a death sentence for those dumped critters…  a slow death… of starvation.

 

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11 responses to Varmints in the garden

  1. Stone – I’m with you on not dumping the unwanted critters elsewhere. My two cats are helping keep the critter population under control.

    • stone said on 06/16/2013

      My cat catches voles and mice and other varmints, but it also catches all the lizards… And I want to keep the lizards!

      Did you recognize this post as answer to part of your request?

      • I have way too many lizards and I’m NOT fond of them. They skitter across the dry leaf mold which makes me do one of those full head rotations like a scene out of the Omen because I just know it’s a snake!

        • stone said on 11/28/2013

          I’m a big fan of my snakes, too… They eat rats n voles…

          Re lizards… I’ve watched them chasing grasshoppers, and scarfing up termites… How could anyone object to such lil cuties?

  2. You know, most of those animals could be turned into food. We have fuzzy tailed tree rats and chipmunks. I use a live trap baited with peanut butter on the trip plate, and corn and/or sunflowers impacted in that. Then myself or one of my kids sets the sprung trap in the pond for a slow count to 60, and the dog is thrilled, or we do a pot of squirrel stew. Lets the kids practice their “trapping skills” and cuts down on the dog food costs. Cats generally wont eat them if they dont kill the critters themselves, but every once in a while I am required to quarter the animal and give each a portion.

    • stone said on 06/16/2013

      Yup…
      But the fire ants eat peanut butter… so I can’t use that (in the warm weather).
      My cat gets the rodents after I drown them… She eats some of them… But… she would rather catch her own… I feed her too much cat food…

      Do you really eat the squirrels after drowning them? No reason why you couldn’t… Last winter… I had a squirrel go down my rows of planted pecans… dug up all of them… eventually I trapped him.

  3. “Live and let live” is my motto. We have mice, voles, shrews,and yes, we have seen the occasional rat, but we also have tawny owls hunting every night. I can honestly say I’ve not noticed any damage except at bulb planting time. Our house is relatively new, the wildlife was here before us, we are living happily together so far!

    • stone said on 06/16/2013

      How nice for you!
      In my garden, this year, the voles were eating the seeds as soon as I planted them…
      I would till the soil, plant the seeds, and then observe the vole tunnels down each of the rows.
      Part of the problem is likely caused by the chicken farmer down the road… Those people like to kill foxes and snakes, some of the best animals for rodent control…
      Plus, there are some very despicable people who live near me… who deliberately run down any critter they see…

  4. Meta said on 09/13/2013

    I just discovered your blog even though I have seen your name many times on Linda’ s blog, my rural garden.
    Thanks for the invasive plants list.

    I meant of course. Southern Rural Road.

  5. Jay said on 09/24/2013

    Best wishes with your sweet potato.

    What variety are you growing where you are at?

    • stone said on 11/28/2013

      Thnx for the well-wishes… But for all of the effort I put into trying to protect them… the voles ate every bit under the ground, and any number of rodents prevented them from producing much in the way of foliage…
      Type? whatever I had sitting around growing sprouts… I can’t be bothered with type, when I can’t get any food from them… The cat is working overtime this autumn… Here’s hoping for a better year…

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