Problem-Solving – This is War Part I

I hope the photograph shows the deep hole in my Square Foot Garden. My peas were just beginning to sprout when some type of marauding critter decided to make them a meal.

Something large and furry had to be the culprit, or could it have been something large and feathery? My first impulse was to blame the squirrels, but they have been in the yard with my Square Foot Garden for several weeks and have not ventured past the chicken wire enclosing it. The same day I saw the devastation in the garden, I spotted a large chipmunk running around the yard. I know they are cute, but chipmunks are tops on my problem wildlife list. They are voracious and destructive and actually can be dangerous. My neighbor broke her wrist a summer or two ago by catching her foot in a chipmunk burrow and falling. One summer our yard became so overrun the chipmunks scavenged relentlessly even when we were only a few feet away. Wild turkeys have visited my yard too, but thankfully, only once. Yesterday I saw the mallard ducks. They are back. Every spring they return to my yard. Why? To eat beneath the birdfeeder, and then for dessert feast on every fish they can scoop up in my pond. The ducks have become a pest too and are able to easily fly over the chicken wire and gobble up my sprouting peas and greens.

So the big question is what to do to fight them. I have had mixed results in past years. The bug spray I made a few days ago might repel the animals, but the ducks don’t have a sense of smell and will not be stopped by a repellent scent. I also must reapply every time it rains, and if I don’t get out there and re-spray within five minutes of rain stopping, the hungry pests might get there first.

My first weapon was applied immediately, chile powder straight out of the bottle. I have some dried chiles still on hand, and I will blend those and keep at the ready to spread around. So far this has repelled whatever it was that dug up the peas.

I am also a firm believer in scare tactics. Anyone who has lived beside me might know that when I see something near sprouting plants I might run outside roaring like a lion in attempts to scare them away. It works. It also sends my heart rate pounding. I don’t know how wise it is to sprint and roar like this, but hey, it works. I also came up with a few temporary and permanent solutions. Tomorrow I’ll post the permanent solution, but for today, the temporary solution is the focus.

Water balloons. They are at the ready in a basket, filled with water and bit of garlic powder for a little added punch. If I see one of the culprits in or near my garden, they are in for a surprise. Tee-hee! I just hope tomorrow’s newspaper headlines don’t read: “Grandmother falls out second story window lobbing water balloons at wildlife.”

IMPORTANT CAUTION: Balloons can be lethal to small children because they are a choking hazard. Make sure to remove all shreds of balloons out of your yard.

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13 thoughts on “Problem-Solving – This is War Part I

  1. Haha made me laugh! Reminded me of my Father, now in his late seventies, who keeps a catapult on the bedroom windowsill so that first thing in the morning, he can fire at the blackbirds who eat the fruit he grows in the front garden (don’t worry, to the best of my knowledge he has never hit anything and I like to think this is intentional, although I’ve never dared ask – he’s very protective of his garden!)


    1. Hmm I don’t know if you know what the Beano is in America? It’s a comic that my Dad’s generation grew up reading and his catapult looks like something out of that … A y shaped stick with a strong piece of elastic tied to the top of each side of the y. I couldn’t work it when I tried. Some of his more sensible ideas have been CDs tied in the trees (didn’t work), a pretend magpie (limited success), and netting (took it down quickly because the birds kept getting tangled up in it – see, he’s nice really). Good luck with it anyway 🙂


  2. timelesslady

    Thanks for the tip…I have already made some CD’s into scare-CD’s…in fact was just hanging them and took pictures for tomorrow’s post. Thanks agian.


  3. Pingback: Planting – Update/Winter Sowing and Square Foot Garden « Minding My P's With Q

  4. lisa

    i’ve heard that male human hair, spread around the perimeter of your garden will deter raccoons. Going to give that a try this year. Heading to the barbar shop!!


    1. Thanks for visiting Helene. Yes…I am so glad to have given you a moment of happiness over my silly problems. If only all the problems in the world were so easy. I laugh at myself all the time…especially when I imagine what I look like fighting these “battles” with the critters. Have the happiest of days. Kathy


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