The Q&A Archives: protecting produce from critters/rodents

Question: I've started a vegetable garden at my school with preschool and kindergarten age children. Being inexperienced in the area we are learning as we go. Unfortunately, after our first year we didn't have much to show for it in terms of produce. It looks like there are rats that might be eating the produce and some plants. What can we use to protect the plants from rodents? What type of barriers are effective?

Answer: You can start by making sure the rodents are not actually living in the garden. Look for burrows, holes, etc. and eliminate them. Then surround the entire garden with hardware cloth (not chicken wire - the holes are large enough for rats and mice to easily crawl through). Bury the hardware cloth a few inches into the soil to deter digging. If fencing the entire garden is out of the question, encircle each susceptible plant with a cylinder of hardware cloth. This will stop rats, mice and bunny rabbits from feeding on your produce. Best wishes with your garden!

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