Cute little bunny? A veritable eating machine!

Cute little bunny? A veritable eating machine!

How to keep animals and pests out of your garden

Planting and growing gardens is a healthy hobby and a tasty one, too. but in most cases, be aware of rabbits, deer, raccoons and all kinds of crawling and flying critters as they love gardening as well.
There's many ways to defend against these vegetarian pests, here are just a few tried and true methods passed down through the generations…


A fence around your garden is one of the most effective ways to keep pests and animals out. Short mesh fencing will keep away most small invaders such as rabbits, while a higher fence of at least five feet should keep out deer.


Mesh plant covers

Mesh covers are easy to use and provide excellent protection from small and large animals. Mesh covers come in several sizes and can be set up in minutes. Simply place them over growing plants to keep animals from chewing on the delicate leaves.

Hot pepper sauce

A homemade hot pepper mixture sprayed on your plants will make them taste bad to pests and keep animals out of the garden. Mix together:

one ounce of hot pepper sauce (the hotter the better)
four drops of natural dish soap
one cup of aromatic leaves from plants such as marigolds

Place the mixture in a blender and add a cup or two of water and puree until smooth. Strain the puree to remove solids, transfer to a spray bottle and add water to fill. Spray the mixture on garden plants once a week or after every rain. Label the bottle and store in a refrigerator.

Alternative food sources

Try providing alternative food sources to distract pests. One option is installing birdfeeders beside the garden: many smaller animals will eat bird seed and be distracted from growing plants. Be sure to keep the feeders full.


Soap is a great way to keep squirrels and deer away. Use a stick to skewer a soap bar and stick it in the ground so the bar is level with plant tops. You can also hang bars of soap around the garden.

Nasty tasting plants

One of the more natural ways to deter animals is to include plants which taste bad to pests. Marigolds, mint and lavender are effective at keeping rabbits and squirrels away. Research which plants are safe and the most effective in your zone.


Deer are especially deterred by wind chimes. You could also play a radio nearby. Some gardeners report good results from playing a radio around the clock, although do be considerate of any neighbours.

Plant tent

Plant tents can be a very effective way to keep pestsaway. Most are made from materials strong enough to withstand pest damage while still allowing sunlight to reach and nourish your plants.


If neighborhood cats are damaging plants, try using catnip to lure them away. Place a few small catnip plants in an area away from your garden.

Containers or raised beds

There are many advantages to raised garden beds. In many cases simply raising the bed off the ground is all you need to keep away pests and small animals like rabbits.


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