As a nature lover, there is nothing quite as satisfying as growing your own vegetables and enjoying the fruits of your labor. Unfortunately, furry pests like deer and rabbits can wreak havoc on your garden and devour your carefully cultivated plants. While many gardeners reach for chemical solutions to deter these pesky creatures, organic gardening offers a safer and more sustainable approach. Let’s explore some organic gardening solutions to safeguard your garden against deer and rabbits, so you can protect your plants and enjoy your harvest for years to come.
Understanding Deer and Rabbit Behaviour
Deer and rabbits may look innocent, but they can cause damage to your garden that ranges from frustrating to devastating. Deer prefer a variety of foods, treating landscape plants as a salad bar, while rabbits frequently damage woody plants and vegetable gardens. Damage caused by these animals can include a ragged appearance, gnawed bark, and cut branches. Protecting your garden against these animals requires knowing their habits and choosing the right strategies to keep them at bay.
Natural Deterrents Against Deer and Rabbit
A. Planting Choices
When it comes to planting in a deer and rabbit-prone area, your best bet is to choose plants that these pests find unappetizing. Opt for plants that have hairy or fuzzy leaves, spines, or thorns, or those that have a strong fragrance. Deer are also less likely to eat plants that contain compounds toxic to them or those with tough leaves. Incorporating a mix of these types of plants will help safeguard your garden against deer and rabbit damage. You can opt to plant lamb’s ears and snapdragons.
B. Repellent Plants and Herbs
Another way to safeguard your garden against deer and rabbits is by planting certain repellent plants and herbs. Marigolds are a great option as they have a strong smell that both animals dislike. You can also try planting mint and lavender, which have been known to keep pests away due to their taste. Before planting, do some research to see what plants work best depending on your pest situation. Adding these plants to your garden not only helps protect it but also adds a lovely touch of natural beauty.
Human-Deterrents Against Deer and Rabbit
A. Fencing Options
Fencing can be an effective option to keep deer and rabbits out of your garden. Make sure to choose a fence that is at least 8 feet high to prevent deer from jumping over it. For a more robust barrier, consider creating a double fence with a stockade fence on the exterior and a less expensive wire fence on the interior. It’s important to bury the bottom of the fence to prevent rabbits from digging under it.
B. Netting and Barriers
Netting and barriers are effective ways to keep deer and rabbits away from your garden. You can use plastic bird netting to cover small edible bushes or raised beds. Additionally, chicken wire and rabbit fencing are inexpensive options for small mammals. The key is to bury the fencing underground to deter burrowing attempts. These simple solutions can help safeguard your organic garden from pesky wildlife.
DIY Organic Deterrents
A. Homemade Sprays and Tonics
Homemade sprays and tonics are an effective way to ward off deer and rabbits from your garden. These natural repellents use unique smells and tastes that these creatures are not familiar with, making them less likely to nibble on your plants.
To create a natural spray that can prevent deer and rabbits from harming your plants, combine 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and 1/2 cup of milk inside a gallon-sized spray bottle. Top off the bottle with water, thoroughly mix and then apply the concoction to your plants. You may need to reapply the mixture after heavy rainfall or watering. Deer and rabbits find the odor of eggs and milk disagreeable, therefore cooking oil and dish soap are added to the solution to stay on the plant’s leaves.
B. DIY Scent Deterrents
You can try making your own scent deterrents from ingredients you already have at home. For example, you can use ingredients like cayenne pepper, garlic, and even bar soap to create a repulsive scent for these animals. Homemade repellents are not only effective but also cheaper and safer than commercial products. Give it a try and see the difference in your garden.