The Ongoing Saga of the Monsters in My Garden

by formerchef on April 18, 2009

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I have finally figured out what the “Little Monsters” are in my garden.
Raccoons.
The clue was the single footprint on the side wall of one of my raised beds.
Well, the footprint, holes dug into the garden 8″ deep, and plant seedlings tossed about with wild abandon were all clues.
Black pepper and Cayenne sprinkled on the ground around the plants did not deter them so I decided we needed to step up the plant protection. I didn’t want to do anything which might harm them either, despite some of the suggestions I got from people. I also didn’t want an ugly fence which would disturb my view and potentially block sunlight from the plants. So I settled on a compromise solution.

I bought bird netting and bamboo stakes from Home Depot. I did a test on one of the beds, putting the stakes on the inside of the bed. It wasn’t as sturdy as it could be. My husband suggested putting the stakes though hook and eye loops on the outside of the raised beds and that’s eventually what I did.

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Here’s what I used:
4 packages of 5′ Bamboo stakes (6-7 per pkg)
2 packages of 7’x20′ bird netting (cut in 1/2 lengthwise)
50 #8 hook and eye loops
100’s of zip ties

I predrilled the holes for the eye loops and screws in 2 at each corner of the bed. Then I wrapped the netting around the outside and tied it to the stakes with zip ties. In most places, I only attached above the top loop so I could remove the stakes for garden access.

I did the two smaller boxes on the first day and the next morning, no intrusions. “Great”, I thought and did the rest of the wrapping, drilling and staking. Next morning, no intrusions. “Success!” I thought and was so proud to have won against the “monsters.”

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Morning #3 we woke up to discover a breach in the back wall of netting. The netting was too loose and they’d pulled it down to crawl up inside.They’d gotten in and pillaged my onions and potatoes, dug more huge holes, and ripped out one of the lemon cucumber seedlings I’d grown myself from seed. Monsters!

I countered with more zip ties to tighten up the netting but as of this morning, it’s not working 100%. I need more stakes on the back wall. I think the netting is too loose when there is 6 feet between the stakes. I am also contemplating buying “critter repellant”. Yes, this is an actual product. Anyone use it?

One other garden change is that I created some trellises using an old piece of 5’x8′ white plastic lattice I had. All I did was cut it in half using some tin snips and push it down into the garden walls. Underneath I planted the green bean and snap peas seedlings I grew. Hopefully the lattice won’t cause too much shade. They are doing well so far.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer S April 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Raccoons are some of the nastiest, meanest critters around. I hope you don’t ever have to deal with them up close.

I like what you’ve done with the beds. Hopefully now you’ll have better luck. You might want to try some wolf urine as a way to keep critters away.. people here in MN tend to use it to try and keep the deer at bay. Haven’t used it myself. We have a neighbor with a dog that barks, so we don’t tend to have as much of a problem yet.

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2 formerchef April 19, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Thanks! Last night they tore down one of the net fences. Just ripped it right off. I just ordered some stuff called “critter repellant” which does contain large predator urine so hopefully that will work and scare them off.

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