Awww! So adorable! Right? Wrong! Don’t be fooled! This sweet little hippity-hop-bun-bun is one of the most notorious scoundrels to ever descend upon the gardener’s plot. It’s the reason you need garden pest prevention done right. The dinky darling and his gang of miscreants can and will wreak havoc on your flowers and your veggies, turning your hard effort into a nibbled up knoll of nothing in no time. In addition to the bunny troubles, to make matters even worse for me, two of my very favorite varmints in life are on Team Bunny Foo Foo too – my puppy love and my whippersnapper toddler. Together, these three have an incredible offense based on cuteness and innocence. They are a constant force working against me when it comes to gardening. Along with the inappropriate munching, one gleeful romp from the dog turns my well planned and identifiable veggie patch into an oversized tossed salad come harvest time. And you can only imagine what a Tonka truck in the hands of the two year old can do. It’s a tomato plant’s worst nightmare. Please read on for a few basic tips on garden pest prevention.
Operation Garden Rescue
I’ve tried to entice these three with treats and with fun and games to lure the conspiracy away from the garden. There must be some cryptic magnetism though, because the garden is a consistent source of intrigue and destruction for these three. I am forced to build a fence around my garden this year as a result of these rascals in spite of the fact that we have fenced in our entire yard to keep out the BIGGER garden nemeses – the deer. Sigh.
So, as a desperate defensive maneuver, I made a trip to Home Depot and found this awesome green colored mesh ON CLEARANCE. Yay! (Have I mentioned that I’m a frugal gardener?) I was going for chicken wire when I found this option instead. It was cheaper than the chicken wire, it is easier to work with, and it looks nicer. I think it will hold up better against the Three Amigos too, so I’m feeling like I have a bit of an advantage over the competition.
A Garden Pest Prevention Fence
There are a couple of options for attaching the fencing to your garden. You can choose to purchase the stakes that are made for this type of rolled wire fencing. Or you can use wood stakes. Since I have wood just lying around, I decided to make my own wooden stakes rather than to buy the metal ones. The metal stakes would work better for those who live in humid conditions where wood rots quickly, but I don’t have a wood rotting issue of epic proportion.
I found a couple of wooden stakes that were already made in my woodpile, and then I chose a couple of 1x2s to cut for the rest of the stakes I’ll need. The fencing that I purchased is 24 inches tall, and I’m fencing in two raised garden beds that sit 6 inches above ground. I cut my stakes 30 inches long so that after I attach the fencing, I can drive them down six inches.
After cutting the stakes, I grabbed my staple gun. Each roll of wire mesh is 5 feet long, and my gardens are 4×4 squares. I am able to staple one end of the mesh to one stake that I will place in the back corners. Then, I just pull the mesh forward from there. I staple the mesh to the insides of my garden frame too, so it’s nice and smooth. The mesh ends 1 foot across the front of the garden where I have another stake. I just staple that end of the mesh to the second stake. This plan leaves me a 2 foot space to access my garden if I need to, and I can still reach into the garden over the sides, too.
The Low Down on Garden Pests
Garden pests come in all shapes and sizes, so, unfortunately, there is no one technique that will conquer all garden nuisances. No matter how abominable the specific scoundrel is to your garden, there’s usually a simple solution. Fencing is a favorite for keeping small and large animals out, but there are many garden pests that are too small for fencing. While there are plenty of insecticides out there for the bugs that can devastate a crop, traps are the best solution for the ordinary gardener with edible plants. There are different traps for different bugs, so learn about your pests. Learn their weaknesses. Then use their weakness to your advantage.
For example, snails and slugs love beer. No kidding. Just pour a little into a shallow dish, and sink the dish to ground level. The slimy little critters will leave the plant they are chomping on and drown in the brew. Sticky tape traps work well for many types of flying pests. Ladybugs keep aphids at bay, so they are always welcome in my garden, along with a spider or two, which I LOATHE, yet I appreciate their ability to keep the veggie-eating type pests in check. Anything to keep the rascals out!
By the way, gardening is a practice of patience. If you lose a good plant to some beastly pest, like a baby bunny, just try again next year. Best of luck!