Thursday, May 31, 2012

Squirrels! BAH!

Squirrels are the bane of my gardening existence.  They dig out seeds I've just planted.  Chew the tops off pepper plants, tomato plants, and sunflowers!  I sometimes wonder if they're doing me a favor as topping those plants causes them to be bushier -- including the sunflowers!  Instead of a single flower head, there will be many when the squirrels have chewed the tops from one.  They dig out newly planted plants, too.  They dig in all my planters, leaving heaps of dirt all over the place!

I know.  I probably shouldn't feed him if he gives me so much trouble.  This table is on my porch just outside one kitchen window where the cats like to lounge.  Feeding him here is great entertainment for the cats.  Although, two of my cats go outdoors and I do have (expletive laced) video of my 24-pound tuxedo cat sitting lazily only 4 inches away from the squirrel watching him with mild curiosity.  

Every year I search for ways to stop the squirrels' destruction.  Usually I cover the tops of my planters with rocks and shells I've gathered from the beaches.  This does stop them from digging in those.  I'm never surprised when a bean plant starts growing in a row where I did not plant beans.  It's nothing I did.  It's the squirrel's doing.  

This is my potted blueberry.  We amended the soil to reach the correct pH and still it was a little sweeter than blueberries prefer.  So I started taking my coffee grounds out to the planter in the mornings to help increase the acidity.  What do you know?  When I added coffee grounds to the top of the planter, the squirrel stopped digging.  It's a good thing I love coffee!  I'll be spreading these everywhere! 

This chili pepper planter is covered in clam shells.  The bit of soil on the porch was from the squirrel's last dig before I added the shells.

Last year, I lost most of the spinach in my salad box to the squirrels.  They would dig it up, eat it, just make a wreck of the whole box.  This year, I sprouted everything under bird netting.  Once it got too tall for the bird netting, I removed the bird netting.  As soon as I did, holes everywhere!  Squirrels!  Bah!  I moved my salad box from a too shady location to a too sunny location, so had to give my lettuce and spinach some shade.

The squirrels aren't afraid to climb in on the sides and dig, or even in the small, two-inch gap between the two shades!  So we had to make some more modifications before we could start our cucumbers in the back row.  (In this picture you can see the leeks that overwintered in this box.  They were TASTY!  Normally leeks wouldn't survive a winter in this region, but last year's winter was incredibly mild.)

These are trays from garden centers used to hold all the cell packs of flowers and such.  I knew I hung onto them for a reason!  (They come in handy for harvesting.)  We stapled these to the sides of the box to keep the squirrels out.  It's working.  Look how happy the lettuce is, too!

The cukes are sprouting happily.  And the squirrel isn't going to get them!  

1 Comment:

Mirta Lu said...

Actually, it’s a good idea. Feeding the squirrels can reduce the destruction on your plants. However, it’s not a permanent solution, and it’s not possible for you to provide for them without end. On another note, I’m glad you’ve devised something effective from the trays. :D Just a tip: The best time to feed them is during harvest time. It’s just some kind of diversion for them. ;)m

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