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Keeping Critters Out Of A Garden – Darn Varmints!!

Animals are so soft, cuddly, and fun to watch, but when it comes to a garden, no one wants them there. Nothing is more White Tailed Deerfrustrating or aggravating than to see a deer or rabbit munching on your flowers or herbs, especially after you have been caringKeeping Critters Out Of The Garden for them like a new mother or father from the day you planted them. I know the feeling! That’s why I’ve decided to give some suggestions for keeping critters out of a garden.

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links in which I receive a small compensation from sales of certain items.)

Your Typical Critter in the Northeast USA

There are many kinds of animals that roam the world, but I am going to focus on a few of the most common creatures found in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic regions of the USA. They include deer, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. Even some of our furry friends like dogs and cats like to chomp away at flowers and herbs. So what are we to do?

Bob The Builder To The Rescue!

Your first thought may be to build some type of barrier around your garden. That is a good idea especially if your yard is over run with deer. Deer are probably the most difficult animals to keep out of your garden. Their natural habitats have been significantly squelched through over development. Therefore, they are forced to find a different restaurant, mainly your backyard garden. In addition to deer, rabbits are also on the top ten list for being cute but pesky.

You have a few options when it comes to curtailing these animals.

  • fencing – For larger, hopping animals, erect a 5 foot or higher fence. It can be made of wood, wood pallets torn apart, chain link, heavy screening; whatever fits into your budget. Just be sure it is sturdy.Chain Link Fence
  • wire cloche – This is a French word meaning clock. It is a curved wire cage that fits over tender plants. Make sure it is secured to the ground with a few metal U shaped tent pegs.
  • baffles – A baffle is a curved dome that you can place over hanging baskets to deter animals. It’s usually made of plexiglass or some sort of metal.
  • plant tents – Use a garden hoop covered with fabric and anchor it to the ground to protect the plant.
  • music – Any type of music will deter deer, including wind chimes.
  • raised beds – If you are handy and have issues that don’t leap and hop like skunks and groundhogs, build a raised bed for your plants to deter these kinds of animals. This could be made with wood or stone, whichever you prefer.
  • traps – There are many traps you could make to catch and release the animals.

Time To Shop!

In addition to making barriers, there are many products you can buy at your local Home Depot, Lowes, or gardening store to impede animals from munching on your flowers and herbs. But be sure they do not kill the animal or harm the environment. Remember, we only have one earth and we must take good care of all its resources and its inhabitants. Some safe solutions to deter animals include:

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

  • Liquid Fence – This is a spray repellent and has a nasty odor to both animals and humans alike. Fortunately the smell dissipates for us but the scent lingers for animals. Apply it to dry foliage and blooms after every significant rainfall because the oils in the product wash away. You can also spray it around the perimeter of your garden. Again, this is not poisonous to the animals or harmful to the environment.
  • Predator Urine – The product is exactly what it says, urine from a predator of a deer, rabbit, etc. You may also smell this  but again, the odor will dissipate.
  • Deer Out– This is made from eggs, hot peppers and garlic, all things deer do not like to smell.
  • Plant Kydd – A blood meal solution that deters many animals.
  • Solar Yard Gard – This contraption is solar powered and is motion activated. It uses high pitched sound waves humans cannot hear but animals can. Set it up in a sunny area and one device will protect up to 3000 square feet.
  • Garlic sprays – Bought from a store, this spray could help discourage animals from attacking your beautiful garden.
  • Fish emulsions – This is made from whole fish or fish parts and is an organic garden fertilizer. Read the directions to determine the quantity to apply to your garden.

==>Click Here for a reivew of Solar Yard Gard<==

Natural Ingredients – Hooray For Mother Nature!

Mother Nature has provided us with many ways of keeping critters out of a garden. They range from the scents of herbs and flowers to making natural concoctions from ingredients found at your local grocery store.

Most animals do not like aromatic herbs. Deer and rabbits especially do not like the smell of basil, lavender and rosemary. Other deterrent scents include chives and onions, garlic, and citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruit. Marigolds and Basilmint also have an overpowering aroma that a lot of animals do not like. Plant these around the base of your garden. Sprinkling ammonia and cayenne pepper may also discourage animals from eating your plants.

If your furry dog enjoys digging in your garden, try planting some bergamot (a citrus plant), rue (a strong smelling plant used for medicinal purposes) or a citronella plant (also used to deterBergamot mosquitos). It will repel your dog from the garden but beware, rue can cause an allergic skin reaction in humans.

You could try sprinkling red pepper flakes or using a liquid pepper spray around and on your plants. Coffee grounds deter squirrels but you need to add a cup or less to your plants every 2 weeks. Do not use too much though, because the grounds are very acidic and can stunt the growth of your plants. Try to use them around acid loving plants like blueberries, azalea  and camellia bushes. The grounds also attract worms to your soil which are very beneficial.

Other Annoying Critters
Shop Shrubs at Nature Hills
Chipmunks along with squirrels can be nuisances. Since they do not like pungent odors plant garlic bulbs here and there Chipmunkscattered throughout your garden. You will not only scare away the critters, but will produce a wonderful herb to use in most of your recipes.

If cats are an issue in your garden, plant catnip on the opposite side of your garden to lure them away.

Plants with spikes like prickly pear, repel animals. Lamb’s ear which has tough leaves is also a deterrent along with plants that have milky sap like milkweed. One benefit of milkweed is it attracts butterflies, so you’ll not only discourage pesky animals but attract lovely insects.

WARNING! According to Poison Control, “All parts of the plant contain toxic cardiac glycosides, which can cause nausea, diarrhea, weakness, and confusion in small amounts, and seizures, heart rhythm changes, respiratory paralysis, and even death in large amounts. Milkweed can also irritate the skin and eyes if touched.”

Foxglove thatPrickly Pear have fuzzy leaves are also unappealing to animals. Begonia is another plant that has a pungent smell to animals so they may stay away from them.

To deter birds from eating the tasty berries from your plants, set a bird feeder up at a different location from your garden.  They will be attracted to the easy meal rather than your garden. If squirrels are an issue, cover it with a baffle that was described above.

Keeping Critters Out Of A Garden: Perenniels Do The Trick

Below is a list of flowers and herbs that will help deter animals from your garden. Pepper your garden with these to keep the critters at bay. They all have either fuzzy leaves, strong fragrances or a bitter taste.

Spring Blooming Perenniels:

  • bleeding heartBluebell
  • bluebell
  • crocus
  • daffodil
  • fritillaria

Summer Blooming Perenniels:

  • blue beard
  • catmint
  • lavender
  • monkshood

Ground Covers:Bugleweed

  • bugleweed
  • pachysandra
  • lilies of the valley
  • spotted deadnettle

Folk Remedies and Home Grown Brews – Keeping Critters Out Of A Garden

There are a few folk remedies worth mentioning. I have scattered my hair throughout the garden and it seems to have repelled some animals (and yes, I do shampoo often!). You can get some hair at your local beauty parlor. Dog’s hair is also useful for this; again, visit your local groomer. Human urine can be used, but good luck collecting that! Fake snakes have also been used to scare away varmints.

I have compiled a few homemade brews or potions as I like to call them. I will share them with you below.

Hot Pepper Sauce/ This is good to deter rabbits (although, I feel bad for them!)

1 ounce pepper sauce;   4 drops natural dish soap (Meyer’s Clean Day Dish Soap);    1 cup leaves rabbits dislike (marigold leaves)

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and add 1 to 2 cups of water and blend. Meyer' Soap
  2. Strain the puree to remove the solids.
  3. Transfer to a spray bottle and top it off with water; shake
  4. Store in a frig.
  5. Spray plants after each heavy rain or one time per week.

Deer Repellent Spray

1/4 cup milk;   4 drops natural dish sop (Meyer’s Clean Dish Soap)

Place ingredients in a spray bottle. Fill the remaining bottle with water. Shake. Spray on plants every 10 days.

Soap Trick to Deter Squirrels

Skewer a bar of soap and stick it into the ground slightly higher than the plant you want to protect. Or, you can hang it in a cheesecloth from branches of a tree.

Homemade Concoction –  Source/ Barbara Formal; herbalist

1 bar Fels Nap soap;    2 bunches scallions roughly chopped;    2 heads garlic with the cloves separated;    4 eggs;   lots of chili powder

  1. fill 1/2 of a 5 gallon bucket with a lid with hot water
  2. shave soap into bucket to dissolve
  3. place scallions, garlic, eggs and chili powder in a large piece of doubled cheesecloth. Tightly tie the ends of the cloth.Garlic
  4. hold over the bucket and use a wooden spoon to crack eggs
  5. place pouch in bucket
  6. fill bucket with more hot water
  7. cover tightly with lid
  8. place in shaded area and let sit for one week
  9. transfer in batches to pump sprayer. Apply after each rainfall or every 2 weeks.

That’s All Folks!

As you can see there are many ways to deter animals from your garden. Try one, try them all. It’s totally up to you. Remember, though, please be as planet-friendly as possible. Like one body, we are only given one planet to live on…….no wait! Aren’t they trying to land on Mars???? All joking aside, hopefully foremost in your mind is the environment and please do everything possible to sustain and keep it healthy for not only us, but forfuture generations all the beautiful creatures with whom we share the earth.

If you have any comments, suggestions, or anything else you’d like to discuss, please leave them below. Also, let me know which remedies worked for you!

Happy gardening.




Comments (10) on "Keeping Critters Out Of A Garden – Darn Varmints!!"

  1. I favor the idea of garden fencing. In my book, a fence that surrounds our garden is one of the most effective ways to keep pests at bay.

    And there are all sorts of fences. Keeping it simple, short, mesh fencing will keep away most small invaders such as rabbits. While a higher fence of at least 5 feet should keep deers out.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Yes, unfortunately for some pests, fencing is the best solution. As you said there are many kinds of fences that can be erected and a lot are aesthetically pleasing. If you’d like to share any more comments or have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.


  2. Very good ideas on how to protect your garden.
    I also love animals very much but the same ones used to cause me a lot of problems in my garden sometimes.
    I will definitely try some of these methods to protect the garden. I think this post of yours can help a lot people who have similar problems.

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence! Please let me know which methods you try and whether or not they work. Unfortunately, some animals just are too smart and figure out how to get around some of the solutions. Hopefully, one of the suggestions works for you! If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!


  3. Hi, I’ve just gone through your article about keeping the critters out of the garden. I find it very educative and informative. I agree with you that the garden is the place where we don’t need any mess, either caused by animals or even our kids. It becomes really frustrating to find flowers broken and eaten up by animals. From your list. I prefer fencing my garden to avoid a messy garden. Thank you very much for sharing such helpful information with us. I promise to share it further with my colleagues.

    1. Thanks so much for the comment and for sharing my post. I hope everyone will learn something that they didn’t know before reading the article. If you have any more comments or questions, please feel free to ask.


  4. What a great and helpful article! My problem this Spring is a bunny, who I fed all winter, has decided to feast on my Trout Lillys (also known as Wood Violets). I am going to try using the hot pepper sauce remedy and maybe the wire cloche. Thank you, Nina.

    1. I’m so glad you found my post helpful. Yes, those bunnies are so cute that you want to feed them, but then they start munching on something you don’t want them to eat! The hot pepper spray should help. Let me know how you make out. If you have any additional comments or questions, please don’t hesistate to ask.

  5. Thank you for your helpful article! We have a big herd of particularly cheeky deer in our new neighborhood that roam through the yard throughout the day. Your article was helpful in thinking about fencing for the vegetable garden and potential some companion planting in the flower beds to deter the critters. Thank you!

    1. I’m glad you found my article helpful. I have since wrote a review on one of the products that was featured in the article. You may want to read that one. I hope these ideas help deter your critters from the garden. Let me know how you make out. I’d love to hear your comments!

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