Hi. I am a complete enthusiastic novice and am about to plant my bed. I live in Leslieville. Please would you advise me about any critter deterrent.
Thanks for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners. It’s smart to learn how to deter critters from your new garden because urban wildlife is a reality in Toronto. Rabbits, squirrels and raccoons may be attracted to your vegetable bed. You will need to use different strategies for each species. Generally it helps to consider three aspects of animal deterrence:
Removal of attractants:
For example make sure that there is no pet food left in the yard that would attract raccoons and promptly gather any ripe vegetables in your garden.
Habitat modification and exclusion:
For example you could either build your raised bed high enough to keep out rabbits or construct a wire fence on top of your raised bed to do the same thing. It’s also good idea to keep your yard and adjacent areas mowed and cleared around shrubs to reduce hiding areas for animals.
For example plant marigold and lamb’s ears because rabbits dislike them. Animals fear the smell of anything that suggests predators are close by so a regular sprinkle of blood meal will discourage rabbits and squirrels. Squirrels dislike the smell of the fertilizer Actisol hen manure so sprinkle this natural fertilizer around your vegetables. Raccoons and rabbits dislike the smell of peppermint and ammonia. Regularly scattering cotton rags soaked with these substances will keep them away. Use gloves when making up the ammonia soaked rags and don’t place them directly on plants because the rags will damage the vegetation. Motion sensitive lights and sprinklers will also frighten away animals.
One thing that is routinely recommended in articles but Toronto Master Gardeners does not recommend is the use of any home or commercial remedies that include hot red peppers. It is possible for animals to get the pepper in their eyes and if this happens they will scratch at their eyes causing pain and injury.
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