Planting – Here We Go Again/Critter Maintenance

I’ve begun planting out seedlings and potted plants. After placing this pretty orange pansy in the ground I found it uprooted and wilted within twelve hours. I pushed it back into the soil, and it revived a bit, but it probably will not regain the vigor it might have had if its roots hadn’t been bitten half away.

The situation is a Catch-22 for sure. I enjoy the cute critters that populate my yard. I’ve even been known to throw them a nut or two, and I keep the bird feeders filled. To help with the hungry animal problem we let the back yard grow naturally, and this has really helped with the bunnies,  since they love the dandelions and clover that grows in the lawn. The squirrels make use of the bird feeders in an entertaining fashion, but they also have a digging instinct that will cause them to uproot smaller plants in the garden and hanging baskets that show exposed earth. How to control the squirrels digging instinct is my biggest dilemma until the chipmunks emerge, which is a whole other story.

This year I marked my seeded plots with corks on short skewers. The skewers were purchased at the Christmas Tree Shop, 100 for about $2.00. The corks were a lucky find, dozens upon dozens in a bag at the local Thrift store.

A cork, stuck onto the sharp end of the skewer, with a drop of a ‘stinky’ essential oil on its top, is a great animal repellent. I started with pungent Eucalyptus oil. Because animals will adapt to  a smell they begin to recognize I will rotate Eucalyptus with Tea Tree oil, Cinnamon, Peppermint, and other oils I’ve gathered through the years. The oils won’t poison me, nor the animals, and will last forever since I only use one small drop and it quickly sinks in. The corks do double duty of labeling and repelling.

Other items can be used in place of corks. I’ve used seashells turned upside down to hold drops of oil in the past. I will update on how my plants do during this initial stage of planting. Once they are bigger the plant itself is usually left alone, it’s the fruits and vegetables that become a draw at that time.

Thanks so much for your comments. They fill my life with sunshine.

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