Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

Come wander in; my gate is always open! Gardening / Birding

Household Garden Remedies for Unwanted Critters November 7, 2011

This time of year has me thinking about how to keep the squirrels from digging all the bulbs I just planted, and how to keep my shrubs and trees protected from rabbits when it snows.

My husband and I have tried any number of things to keep them both out of our yard. Some have been successful, like live trapping. This has significantly cut down on our squirrel population. While it’s had some impact on our rabbit population, they are less likely to go into the trap. See below for a trick to try with pet hair.

We will be putting 4-foot high chicken wire (ugly?!) around our vulnerable shrubs and trees before it snows to protect them from being rabbit meals come winter. And I’ve been sprinkling garlic powder around the areas I don’t want the squirrels digging. Cayenne pepper works too.

Jerry Baker, master gardener, is the king at providing natural solutions for all kinds of garden and household problems.

Try these solutions, made from common household items, to help keep rodents and deer out of your garden.

For rabbits:

rabbit image | paula bonelli |

image courtesy of

  • Pet hair in old pantyhose – fill old hose with pet hair and hang in various parts of your garden.
  • Hot sauce mixture – mix 2 ounces of hot sauce with 6 ounces of water. Spray on and around the plants you want to protect.

For squirrels:

  • Cayenne pepper mixture – mix 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper and 1 tablespoon of dish soap into 1 quart of water. Spray around problem areas.
  • Garlic powder – sprinkle around problem areas.

For gophers, voles and moles:

  • Ammonia-soaked dryer sheets – place them in the tunnels, seal the hole and they’ll scram!
  • Castor oil and soap mixture – mix 1/2 cup of castor oil and 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid in a 20-gallon sprayer. Saturate the area around trees and shrubs in affected area(s).

For deer:

  • Rotten egg mixture – pureé 2 raw eggs, 2 cups of water, 1-4 cloves of garlic, and 2 tablespoons of hot sauce. Allow to sit covered for several days (preferably outside of the house!), and sprinkle or pour over vulnerable plants.
  • Scented soap – put scented soap in old pantyhose and hang in deer-troubled areas.

What pests are you trying to keep out of your garden? Got any natural solutions you can share?


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