The Q&A Archives: Thief In The Night

Question: Any large ripe tomato's 12 inches or less to the ground are half eaten by some creature in the night. I have tried to keep them out with fence but they dig under or knock it over. What else can I do to keep these animals out there are many types of animals in my area. skunk, ground hog, raccons, squirls, cats, dogs, chipmonks , field mice.

Answer: There are a number of animal repellent sprays that would help deter raccoons and rabbits from eating the flowers. Try 'Get Away' or 'Deer Away' available from Burpee. 'Deer Away' is efffective in deterring deer and other wildlife and lasts 7-10 days without washing off. Natural scent repellents such as coyote and fox urine are also available from Burpee. See the 1998 Burpee catalog for details. If you don't have one call 1-800-888-1447 or visit the website. You mention the critters got through your deeply did you bury it? To be most effective, a 1" chicken wire fence needs to be 2 feet high and buried at least 6 inches deep around your flowers and vegetables. Consider also interplanting your flowers with garlic, onions, Mexican marigold or Dusty Miller. Bunnies tend not to like their aroma. Also, you can make your own animal repellent mixture by mixing a few teaspoons of cayenne pepper, and a dash of soap in a quart of water. Spray on the plants you want to protect. Once the growth is a few weeks old, the rabbits shouldn't be interested anymore. You can try to scare animals from your garden by burying empty pop bottles with the tops poking up a few inches above the ground. The eerie whistle that results when the wind blows can scare them away. Sprinkling blood meal, ground hot peppers or human or dog hair around plants is also sometimes effective.

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