Having a garden can help you save a lot of cash since you do not have to buy groceries and vegetables. What’s more, you are also assured that the food you buy is fresh and always good, free from chemicals and other harmful substances.
Anyone can have a constant supply of farm-fresh foods like vegetables if they organize themselves properly. However, your new-found freedom can easily be interfered with when pests and rodents decide to attack your crops.
One of the biggest culprits that my target your tomatoes and tubers are the raccoons. Learn how to keep them away from your property without harming them. Consider the following tips.
Raccoon Infestation Signs
Before you find ways to get rid of raccoons, you have to be sure that they are the enemy. Garden attacks can be blamed on several culprits, including rats, birds, and squirrels. How you deal with each of these animals differs, hence the need to be sure what you are dealing with. Fortunately, it is easy to know if a raccoon is the problem you need to eliminate. Watch out for the following signs:
- Distinctive five-paw tracks. You can tell if the tracks belong to a raccoon because they stand out
- Fecal droppings. Raccoons leave behind fecal matter when eating
- Scratched fences. One of the easiest ways to know a raccoon was around will be scratch marks on your fence, and it tries to get in and out of the garden
- Looted trash can. Like most wild animals, raccoons will check your trash can for leftovers.
Whenever you notice these signs, the chances are that you are dealing with a cleaver raccoon that has been sneaking around, stealing your food. If you consider their sneaky nature, raccoons can be very difficult to catch and eliminate.
They are agile since they can easily swim, jump, and run, not to mention that they have paws that mimic the human hand; hence can steal food with a lot of ease. You need to have smart strategies to eliminate them and preserve your vegetable garden, especially if you are not willing to share with them. Below are some of the best tricks to use when dealing with raccoons.
1. Remove Food Sources
If you are one of those who put their trash can near the garden, you probably attract the little animals yourself. First, figure out how best to store the trashcan, preferably away from the garden. Secondly, make sure that the trashcan has no leftover food because you will probably meet it trashed the next morning.
If you do not want to wake up to a mess, then find a way to store leftover food or dispose of it differently. You can also try to close the trashcan in a way that the raccoons will be unable to open. Tight-fitting lids will do the trick.
Always clean the trash’s external side can regularly use bleach to help eliminate the aroma of food. This will minimize attracting scavenging animals at night. Remember to bring in all your pets food, and keep the bird feeding trough out of reach. Some raccoons are too smart that they may hide in the feeding troughs once they consume all the bird seeds.
2. Make The Garden Unappealing
You can scare off the 3 am visitors from coming when everything about your yard repels them. Remember that these little rodents love to do their things when hidden and out of sight, hence the nighttime preference.
Having lights all around your garden is likely to scare the raccoons away. Natural light averts them; hence it is highly recommended to use floodlights or motion sensor lights. You can also use smells that they dislike. For instance, pouring ammonia all-round the garden fence can help keep the raccoons away.
Alternatively, soak a rope in ammonia and hang it at the garden center to give it constant protection. However, you should exercise some caution when using this technique if you have pets since the ammonia may also affect your cats and dogs.
3. Use Noise to Repel the Raccoons
Use noise. Raccoons prefer operating in a quiet environment. They will stay away from the garden if they keep hearing sounds that mimic human activities. Leave a small radio in the middle of the backyard. Just be careful not to have the radio too loud as this may distract your neighbors and cause more problems.
4. Solar Powered Raccoon Repellents
Solar-powered raccoon repellents are great for environmentally conscious people. This is advice that is safe on the raccoons and other pests that may be fond of destroying your garden crops.
It works by releasing waves that humanely keep the animals away from your garden. Place it in areas where you have noticed a lot of raccoon activities.
5. Pepper Spray
This is an easy trick and a perfect DIY project. Make a personalized pepper spray to keep the raccoons at bay. To do this, boil some water with fresh hot pepper or hot sauce.
Once the mixture has cooled, you can then fill your empty spray bottles and spray them around the garden. Ensure you spray on trees and fence poles since these are the areas the raccoons are likely to climb when getting into the garden.
The irritation caused by the pepper will keep them away from your garden, helping you protect your crops.
6. Use Live Traps
In some cases where the raccoons have become too smart to handle, using live traps will work. Use cage traps to ensure you trap it safely without killing it. You need to be sure, though, that this is allowed in your region. While this trick works, it should be used as a last resort, and only be used if the raccoon has become too smart.
Check this too: Creating an Off-Grid Self Sustaining Garden 101
Some live traps kill the raccoons, which is not recommended. Unless the animal has become an imminent threat, then this may be the only option. However, use smart traps because raccoons have been known to get themselves out of most traditional traps. Use the right bait ad set your trap in a place where the raccoons will be more at ease. Great baits include:
- Food coated with honey
- Pet food – dog or cat food
The secret is to use something sweet because raccoons have a sweet tooth. You will get to attract them better if they have something they cannot resist. Once the raccoon has been trapped, make sure that it does not stay trapped for long. Relocate the animal a few miles from your home, ensuring that it cannot trace its way back. Once you are at a safe distance, release it, making sure to be gentle when handling it.
7. Use the Exclusion Method
This is a trick that focuses on finding the entry point and sealing it off. If the raccoon is getting into your garden via the attic, then you need to fix this. Being smart animals, they even use small openings on walls to gain entry.
Fortunately, you can always track them and find out where they are getting in from. However, you need to be cautious because there is a high likelihood that some baby raccoons could be among them. The attic is warm and dark; hence raccoons may hide their young ones there as they go scavenge for food in your yard and garden.
It can be easy to handle raccoons and prevent them from scavenging of your sweet potatoes and carrots. Once you establish that it is not a mole, or squirrel but a raccoon, then handle it efficiently.
With a few tricks and preventive measures, you can be sure that the little animals will stay far away from your precious garden. Just make sure you know what you are dealing with from the onset. Focus on methods that help you get rid of the raccoons without harming or killing them.