How Do I Protect My Vegetable Garden From Squirrels?

“I need to protect my garden from squirrels. I want to do container gardening on my deck. I have problems with squirrels eating all my berries and some of my veggies. What is the best way to protect them?” Question from Melanie of Susquehanna, Pennsylvania

Answer: There are several useful ways that you can implement to keep squirrels from eating your prized fruits and vegetables. Take one or more of these approaches, and even the cleverest squirrels will be thwarted.

  1. Netting and/or caging will keep squirrels away from your berry and vegetable beds and containers.
  2. Motion-sensor water sprayers are an excellent method for repelling small animals, like rabbits and squirrels. The Orbit Yard Enforcer is one model with good reviews.
  3. Dogs and cats also help keep squirrels away, and it’s always nice to have pets.
  4. Most foul-smelling Repellents are a good option for protecting ornamental gardens from squirrels, but not vegetable beds. That’s because poor-smelling repellants can impact the flavor of your produce. Mint and chili pepper sprays, however,  reportedly turn squirrels off, so give these a try. They should not negatively impact your home produce unless you directly spray berries and fruits.

Please click here to read an article about succeeding with container vegetable gardens.

Have a great gardening season!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

What’s the Best Fertilizer for Vegetable Containers?

“What kind of fertilizer should I use to grow vegetables in a big container pot with potting soil?” Question from Susan of Union City, Pennsylvania

Answer: For containers, I always opt for a slow-release fertilizer that will feed plants well all season long. Choose one that is formulated for vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Most of these will have either a balanced N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) ratio, such as 10-10-10, or a ratio that’s more geared towards foliage growth (12-10-5) or fruiting (4-6-3). Just as a reminder, nitrogen encourages foliage growth, phosphorous generally supports flower, fruit, and root development, and potassium supports overall growth. Read the label and make sure the fertilizer you choose will accommodate the vegetables you want to grow. If you garden organically, pick an OMRI Listed fertilizer.

Happy gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist