The groundhog. The Woodchuck. The Whistle Pig.
The bane of my garden’s existence.
Don’t get me wrong, I love groundhogs. They are cute and cuddly and adorably bold. So bold that they think nothing of walking right out in front of me while I am weeding and treating my garden like an all you can eat buffet.
While keeping groundhogs out of the garden may seem like an impossibility, there are some simple measures you can take to keep them at bay.
Trapping. Seems obvious. But groundhogs are smarter than your average rodent. They can return to their home site from up to 3 miles away. If you plan to trap them please consult a professional with a quality, live trap and a good relocation site far from your (or anyone else’s) home. Don’t try to do this alone, for oh so many reasons.
Killing. Whether it is done with a weapon or a chemical, this is my least favorite choice, unless you plan to eat it.
Deterring. My favorite option. I actually like seeing the little whistle pigs running around my yard. I don’t even care if they eat the Echinacea. I just want them to stay away from my chard and beans! There are many chemicals on the market to deter these little critters, but my favorites can be found in your cleaning and spice cabinets.
- Garlic Pepper- Garlic pepper can be found in the dollar spice aisle or can be made in bulk from your bulk food store for a few bucks more. Just sprinkle a circle around your plants wide enough that they can’t reach out and pick. It isn’t fool proof, but it does make a difference. Repeat after heavy rains.
- Ammonia- DO NOT SPRAY THIS ON EDIBLE PLANTS!!! I cannot stress this enough. You do not want to eat it and spraying it directly on the ground could very likely kill your plants. What you want to do is fill aluminum pie plates, old take out containers, etc. with a thin dose of ammonia and set them around the garden. A ¼ inch should do it. These will need to be replaced every time it rains. Pour off old ammonia trays somewhere where you don’t mind killing off the plants. The high urea content will burn the root systems.
- Speaking of pie plates, I find no greater deer deterrent than good old aluminum pie plates on sticks and tomato cages. The flash and rattle is just enough to spook any critter away.
- Lastly, Little Boys. If you have little boys, or bold men, by all means let them pee around your garden. Weird, I know, but the combination of ammonia and human smell in the pee should be enough to keep most animals at bay and it is as free as you can get when it comes to animal destruction prevention.