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Humane Ways to Protect Your Garden from Wildlife

If you have a bountiful garden, chances are wild animals have spotted it too. Those plump fruits and vegetables can be hard to resist. That’s why it helps to know how to protect your garden from wildlife.

Sure, there are repellants you can easily buy to fend them off. However, Mother Nature has taught us to co-exist, and these animals are just as every bit essential to our ecosystem.

Theresa Rooney, author of Humane Critter Control: The Guide to Natural, Nontoxic Pest Solutions to Protect Your Yard and Garden shares: "We are not better than them, and they are not better than us," she emphasized. "We’re all in this together. We have this ability to think things through, whereas the animals and the insects might not have that cognitive ability. It’s up to us to figure out how to make things work because they can only respond how they respond. We can change how we respond."

Identifying the Culprits

Here are some of the most common wild animals that may end up nibbling away on your garden:

  • Deer
  • Rabbits
  • Squirrels
  • Porcupines
  • Voles
  • Chipmunk
  • Birds
  • Raccoons
  • Foxes
  • Bears
A squirrel in the garden

Protecting Your Garden

Here are different ways to deal with your backyard visitors:

1. Invest on planters and raised beds

Raised beds and planters aren’t only good for slugs and other critters crawling all over your tomatoes and peppers. These work wonders particularly for rabbits who can’t seem to get enough of your produce. Rabbits are afraid of aerial predators so utilizing raised beds are a good start.

If you want to take it up a notch, covering your plants with loose netting also helps. Since many animals come around at night, you can opt to remove the covers during the day to encourage pollinators.

Birds feeding in a bird feeder

2. Create feeding areas

Let’s face it: Many of these animals end up wandering people’s gardens because nature hasn’t been the same for them. For one, deforestation has led many of these poor animals to flee their habitats and find means to survive. Shifting your perspective and seeing them as visitors rather than mere pets may mean giving them another day to get through it all.

For example, create feeding areas for birds and squirrels. There are plenty of ways to feed birds safely and abundantly and squirrels are suckers for peanut butter-coated bird seeds. Dedicating an area to them becomes a two-way street: You feed them, and they stay away from your plants.

A closeup image of a marigold flower

3. Create natural repellants

There are many household items you can use to naturally and humanely protect your garden from wildlife. Below are a few common items you can use to spray and sprinkle around your fruits and vegetables:

  • Soapy Water
  • Chile Powder
  • Hot Sauce
  • Hot Pepper Mixture
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Coffee
  • Human Hair
  • Blood Meal
  • Vinegar
  • Aromatic leaves (such as marigold)
A bunch of daffodil flowers in the garden

4. Plant proactively

If you live in an area surrounded by wildlife, it pays to plan your planting. What you grow can also help naturally repel animals from your garden. Here are a few you might consider planting:

  • Catmint
  • Coneflowers
  • Onions
  • Herbs
  • Daffodils

Humanely protecting your garden from wildlife means learning to co-exist with them. Keep these tips in mind, and watch as Mother Nature do the rest of the work.

A man using Ecogardener Landscape Fabric
Ecogardener Raised Bed Garden
Fruits and vegetables being carried

Edible Plants to Grow in Spring

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