Monday, May 18, 2009

Keeping Out Skunks and Raccoons

Around here we tend to see those criminal little raccoons sneaking around at night (it might have something to do with the crazy neighbor who fed them when she lived here). Anyway, I have been looking at ways to keep these vandals out of my garden once the cantaloupe start to grow. We have planted pineapple in the past and have lost every single one to a raccoon. This is very frustrating when a pineapple takes 2 YEARS to produce 1 pineapple!! So, I am thinking ahead and ready to keep them out. I also don't want to pay a fortune for an electric fence. But, I found a site called ghorganics and it has a great list of how to keep those (and other critters) out of your garden. Here is the list for raccoons.

Raccoons and Skunks

NOTE: Skunks have been known to go after sweet corn just like raccoons! To add to that not much will stop raccoons.

Raccoons usually have litters of between two to seven babies. They travel what we call "runs" and will use the same runs generation after generation for decades. They can easily scale high wooden fences. They are nocturnal and do their scavenging at night.

Skunks are also nocturnal or nighttime marauders and can claim up to 10 acres in their territory! Skunks habitually use old borrows left from other creatures or like to make a home in hollows underneath buildings and porches. They will, on occasion, dig their own burrows.

1. Plant anything with prickly foliage to deter them such as squash plants, oriental poppies, globe thistle, pumpkins, Kentucky Wonder pole beans etc. Raccoons have incredibly sensitive toes. Glad to know they won't be after our squash.

2. To keep them from corn plants: put 2-3 drops of Tabasco sauce near the tip of the ear at least one week before picking.

3. To trap raccoons: use baits like sardines, marshmallows, or honey soaked bread.

4. Surround the area with a horizontal border that coons and skunks don't like to walk over-crumpled up black plastic, newspaper, or aluminum foil. Hold these in place with some rocks, landscape pins, or soil. I think I may try this one.

5. Use mesh fencing or chicken wire as a horizontal barrier. Raise these slightly above the ground with some bricks to make it even more of a hassle to cross. We've talked about doing this too.

6. Spread naphthalene flakes or balls around, raccoons hate the taste of this in their paws and they are said to also aid in repelling skunks. No idea what this is, but I am going to look into it.

7. Put paper bags over ears of corn and fasten shut with a rubberband.

8. When the ears are getting close to harvest time tape them to the stalks with masking tape!

9. Use any kind of old netting: fish netting, tennis net, whatever as a barrier. Stake loosely to hold in place.

10. Use rose bush trimmings as a barrier, or anything with stickers.

11. Plant cucumbers with your corn. Both raccoons and skunks hate cucumbers for some reason. Interesting. Unfortunately I didn't plant these.

12. Sprinkle a barrier of lime around the perimeter to be protected. Definitely going to do this!

13. To keep raccoons from getting the fruit in your trees: wrap a barrier of aluminum or sheet metal 2 feet in height around the trunk of the tree. Be sure not to make it tight you want to let your tree trunk breathe.

14. Soak old corn cobs in vinegar. Place them around the plant to be protected. Supposedly once they chew on these they will not come back. We found that last season this worked on both skunks and raccoons for about 2 months. Apparently after that they got wise and were up to their old tricks.

15. Skunk Spray: Make a spray out of 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 teaspoon dish soap. Spray this around areas where you would like skunks to steer clear of such as garbage cans. Don't get this on foliage.

16. Sprinkle flour around suspected nesting or sleeping areas.


amanda said...

Absolutely Fascinating.

love amanda

Dearest Jessica said...

I am with Amanda! However...I really am fascinated!