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Keeping Away Garden Pests

Try some of these gatekeepers
     Readers are complaining that rodents and deer are feasting in their gardens. 
     There is nothing like a good dog for keeping rabbits, groundhogs and deer out of the garden. Best is a dog that prefers staying out all night guarding the house and garden. Since we have had our dog Lusby, we have not had any four-legged pests feasting in the garden.
     If you don’t have such a dog, I suggest a few remedies.
     Turkey fencing will turn away rabbits and groundhogs. Start with four-foot high two-by-four-inch fencing supported by steel posts at 10-foot intervals. Allow turf to grow up to the fence to prevent groundhogs from digging under it.
     Even with turf growing to the base of the fence, the groundhog may elect to climb it. Then you must loosely attach foot-high poultry fencing around the base of the turkey fencing. Attach it to the turkey wire using hog-nose rings at five-foot intervals. As the groundhog begins climbing the poultry fencing, it will fall backwards and drop off.
     Poultry fencing however will not stop raccoons. If you are growing sweet corn, you’ve learned by now that raccoons know when the corn is ready to pick before you do. 
     A flashing light is the technique I’ve developed to prevent raccoons from pre-harvesting my corn. Position a hooded light open-side to the corn. Attach a small flash adapter between the base of the light bulb and the base of the socket. A 40-watt bulb provides adequate light. 
     Repell-All, an evolution of a formula I developed in the 1980s, also works. I created a hot sauce animal repellent using the waste from Tabasco sauce processing. Because it could be used on food crops, the Food and Drug Administration mandated toxicology studies by an independent laboratory. The University was not interested in investing $140,000 for testing, so I released the formula to a chemical company. Now it has reappeared blended with oil of garlic and putrid egg, in both granular and liquid forms.
     I have found it very effective in repelling rabbits, groundhogs and deer with repeated applications at two- to three-week intervals, more with rain. I have applied the granules in a one-inch-wide band around beds of lettuce. The bed of untreated lettuce never produced a crop while the bed surrounded by Repell-All grew fine.
     To protect two American chestnut hybrid trees, I have placed a couple of tablespoons of Repell-All in a square of cotton tied to the supporting pole. The deer have avoided the trees. Last year I did not have any success spreading it around the base of the seedlings.
     Soap, whether specifically made to repel deer or off the shelf, also works. For many years I used a variety of bars of soap suspended from my peach trees to keep the deer away, replacing the soap with a different variety every three to four weeks.
     Pie pans may also work. A neighbor developed such a repellant by surrounding his garden with a string stretched between poles. From the string, he suspended aluminum pie tins loosely tied together. The slightest wind would make the pie tins rattle. He claimed his method was very effective until one morning he awoke to find his tomato plants chewed to the ground. Apparently there was either no wind that evening to rattle the pans or the deer had gotten used to the noise.
     Animals adjust to conditions.
     Do you have a method that is effective and has passed the test of time? Share it with me and our readers. The Bay Gardener is always interested in dependable ways of solving gardening problems.