by Doreen Coyne, a member of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society with additional information picked up from talking to several other members.
Birds are a great help in the garden because they consume lots of insects and are a joy to watch.
Whether you are a gardener or not, you may find enjoyment from watching birds visiting your yard. You can put up a feeder and keep it full to attract a wide variety of birds. Keep it filled with seeds in late autumn through early spring. This way, the garden will be their existing haven, and when summer rolls around, they will feed on the insects at hand. You could also place a birdbath near the garden so that the birds don’t pick at tomatoes for the juice. But ensure the birdbath either has flowing water or that you clean and refill it with fresh water frequently. According to an episode of the TV show “Homestead Rescue”, the Raneys showed how painting smaller stones red and placing them on the ground around your strawberries kept birds from pecking at the real strawberries.
Other interesting things to help deter pests:
- Squirrels: Stop squirrels from digging up planted corn with a mixture of 2 tablespoons liquid fish fertilizer to a gallon of water sprayed on rows. Where to get that fertilizer? Amazon.ca, big box stores, and nurseries.
- Cats and Dogs: There is a great plant that deters cats and dogs due to the smell of the plant. Commonly called the “Piss-off Plant’, you can get it at a local nursery such as Richters Herbs.
- Cats, Dogs, Squirrels: Discourage slightly bigger pests from entering flower or garden beds by sticking lots of chopsticks or plastic forks in the ground (points and prongs upwards) where you’ve just planted seeds. Also use them to surround young, tender plants as they grow. This leaves no room for animals to dig or disturb the plants, helping the plants get a good start.
- Raccoons, Skunks, Squirrels, Snakes, and even Japanese Beetles: Keep these critters out of the garden by applying a wide stripe of garden lime around the garden perimeter. When an unwanted critter licks off the lime it will experience an unpleasant burning sensation, and hopefully, leave the garden plants alone.
- Deer: Scatter dried blood meal (available at any home and garden center) on the ground between rows of vegetables in the garden every week to 10 days to deter deer. This works for rabbits and groundhogs, too. However, blood meal tends to attract dogs so sprinkle garden lime on top of the blood meal to repel the dogs.
- Moose: Bright orange tape wrapped around stakes surrounding your garden plot has been known to help keep moose away. Of course, living in Richmond Hill has proven to be an effective way to avoid moose eating my garden plants.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this series on keeping insects and pests from your plants!