Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day Repellents

Scare Predators Away as Harvest Approaches

Sometimes a fertilizer can be a repellent! Source:

When fruit-bearing vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, corn, etc.) are ripe, that can attract many unwanted animals to the garden: rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons, squirrels, etc., eager to nibble on the fruit before you can save the harvest.

To help scare them off, try applying a handful or two of blood meal, actually a fertilizer, to the soil around the plants. This has to be done at just the right moment, only a few days before they reach maturity. The idea is to confuse fruit-eating varmints. The presence of blood could indicate that there are dangerous predators in the vicinity, causing them to stay away. Of course, mammals are quite intelligent and will eventually realize there is no danger, but with a little luck, you’ll have brought in the harvest by them.

What About Birds?

20180921B Cannelle, .jpg
You’ll probably need “bird netting” to keep birds off your fruiting crops. Source: Cannelle,

Note that blood meal will have no effect on fruit-loving birds: they tend to use their vision rather than their sense of smell to detect predators. If you fear birds will attack your crop, often the easiest solution is to cover them with protective netting, available in any garden center.20180921

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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