Houston Vegetable Garden – Growing vegetable gardens in Houston


January 28, 2014

Varmints!

Category: General – Robert – 11:15 am

If insects and fungi are not enough, we have varmints that love vegetable and ornamentals, especially flowering plants.  This year I have had problems with broccoli on my bed by the driveway in my Houston vegetable garden.  Something has eaten all the crowns and some of the leaves.  I am not sure what animal is responsible.  We have a wide range of suspects; raccoons, possums, rabbits and of course, squirrels.  I believe the squirrels are innocent for once because it has been happening at night.  The number of small animals in the city has greatly increased in recent years.  I am not sure why except that it is easy living for them.  In the old days, I suspect they would have ended up on the dinner table.

I have successfully used a product called Liquid Fence at our summer home in Montana to fend off deer and pack rats.  It works by being foul smelling and thus makes the plants unappetizing.  Deer are the hardest pest to control because they will eat anything.  I have good luck with the product during the main growing season.  When fall approaches and food supplies dry up, nothing will stop the deer.  I am going to try Liquid Fence on the broccoli by spraying it just on the leaves.  Obviously, if it makes food unappetizing for the animals, we are not going to like the vegetable either.  But I hope that keeping it off the edible parts for us, the animals will be repelled enough to go elsewhere. Another option to to repel the animals before the plants reach maturity and then stop using before harvest.  According to the web site, waiting a week is sufficient.  Liquid fence is made from natural products and is not toxic, though not appetizing.  For more information go to this site:   http://www.dogfencediy.com/reviews/invisible-liquid-fence/

For vegetables, physical barriers; i.e. fences, are the most effective, but are unsightly for a bed on the driveway.  Other than squirrels eating tomatoes and corn I previously have not had a lot of problem with animals in my Houston vegetable garden.  When melons get ripe the animals will eat them, but they are easy to protect by putting a small wire cage over the melon.

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