Glory's Garden

All the world's a garden, you know, and we are mere flowers within it. Come, I'll show you!

Don't get any funny ideas!

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My Peeps!

Monday, October 25, 2010

While I'm usually all for Live and let live', most rodents don't fall under this mantra if only because of all the damage they bring to my gardens. The mole, the vole, the house mouse, the field mouse, the rabbit, the jabbit....oh, sorry. I thought I was channeling Dr, Seuss for a minute. Anyway, all those nibbling, gnawing, digging critters do is cause trouble and make life difficult for the gardener. So, when my friend came to me in desperation saying "Squirrels are eating all the bulbs. Is there any way to stop them?" I knew where she was coming from, Rodent hell.
They look innocent enough, don't they? And yet the damage they can do!

Squirrels are tricky, resourceful creatures and therefore deserve...something...though I can't say what. A kick in the butt comes to mind but then I'd have a bunch of animal rights people on my case. Therefore, I must keep things on a humane level, at least until they look the other way.
There are a few things you can do to deter rodents from digging up those freshly planted spring bulbs. I said deter not completely and absolutely stop them. We're talking about tenacious and unfortunately intelligent creatures here. Nothing will stop them if they have enough determination. You'll just have to try each trick to see which works best for you.

Bloodmeal, which is readily available at any good garden center can be used to scare most rodents away. This is spread on top of the soil after the bulbs are planted or around a bed you'd like to keep them out of. This is supposed to scare them off but how long it lasts depends on how much it rains. It does wash away with rain and loses its intensity in time so it will need to be replenished. How long it works in scaring the squirrel, I can't say. They may get used to it and not care at all after a while. In the same way black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic and scallions all are said to be offensive to rodents. You could try them alone or all together.

Spreading a layer of sharp pea gravel on top of the planting bed might make it more difficult for rodents to dig for the bulbs. If the squirrel is hungry enough this would only impede their progress but it's worth a shot. Pea gravel works to prevent moles from tunneling under ground to feast on the bulbs and some folks plant the bulbs with a handful of gravel for further protection.
Another suggestion is to make a planting basket out of wire mesh. This is the last and most effective way I know of keeping your bulbs safe from all rodents not just squirrels. If you're as tenacious about having spring blooming bulbs more.

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