Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How to Keep Rabbits, Dogs, Cats, Deer and Other Critters Out Of The Vegetable Garden The EZ Way

I discovered that most critters will not walk over a solid border of prickly, stick-it-to-em pine cones, or other weird stuff. Tenderfooted dogs, cats and rabbits hate walking on those prickly pine cones! I have more of a rabbit problem than a dog or cat one, so I make my pine cone barrier a bit wider than a rabbit-jump across. Fresh pine cones keep their wonderful prickly, stick-it-to-em nature for about two years before softening and losing their 'bite'. Every year, I add more pine cones to my arsenal, and remove the really old ones. I use the 'spent' pine cones as handy dandy firestarters in my wood stove.

No pine cones? Use scrap fencing material. Cats and rabbits especially hate to walk on chicken wire fencing material that has been laid down sort of loose and floppy-like. Most dogs don't like to walk on it either, but it works only if it is really sproingy-boingy, and not laid down perfectly flat.

Because I have moved to a lots-of-bears wilderness area, I also use the same 'barrier principle' to keep the deer and bears out of certain areas, by laying scraps of fence material on the ground. The deer positively hate walking where their hooves can get tangled up in it... I find I don't need to completely cover the ground with the barrier material, just enough pieces here and there, to get the message across that this ground is not easy to navigate through. Use any kind of fencing material that is larger than chicken wire.

One night as I slept, a bear got its claws hung up in a ground barrier of scrap fence material. That must have been one highly irritated bear. It flung fence wire everywhere, and tracks indicated it was not a short struggle. Dang. I missed the whole show.

Note to self: put up game camera.

Heh. Most people wanna keep fences up; sometimes I find they work better laying on the ground. Tip: don't lay the material too flat. The more bumps and humps, the better...

This article is an excerpt from the Gardening During Hard Times section of Mrs. Tightwad's Handbook #1: How To Survive Disasters and Other Hard Times.

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Anonymous said...

Kind of the same idea as the cow catcher grates used as gates on a ranch.

Michael said...

Hmmm, I never thought of that and I've got a huge and endless supply of pine cones. The kids usually pick up a wheelbarrow full every couple months.

Might have to try it. Wonder if it works for chickens.

PureCajunSunshine said...

Hey, if this works on chickens, please let us know! I'm guessing it will, especially if their wings have already been clipped to prevent flyovers...