Ask E.G. Topic: Garden Pests

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 Alices A. asked: Do you have any ideas about keeping moles, raccoons and random dogs from entering my there a spray of some sort?
E.G. Answered: Hi Miss Alices! There are a lot of different products and sprays out there to deter critters from your garden, however, I tend to be a bit hesitant to use anything that could potentially harm wildlife.  A few ideas to try: 

- Spreading chili flakes around the perimeter of your garden, throughout the soil and on the plants themselves is a big deterrent for anything that sniffs its way into your plants (it would stop me from taking a big ol' whiff, that's for sure!). It's inexpensive and won't affect the taste of your vegetables. 

- You also might try putting up some inexpensive netting. Animals (much like me) are lazy, and if it takes too much work, they'll find easier pickins. If you go this route, make sure you bury the netting at least 6 inches below the surface, to prevent any dirt-dwellers from getting under it. 

- If you're willing to spend a little money, I like this product: the Contech CRO101 Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler.  It's a sprinkler that shoots out water when anything gets too close to the area.  In addition to discouraging dogs, deer, and raccoons, it might be enjoyable to set it up and scare the neighborhood kids when they go tramping through.

You also may want to look into exactly what kind of pests are making their way into your garden.  Moles actually do not eat plants - only grubs and earthworms.  If you have very damp ground around your garden, there may be an excess of these tasty meals that are attracting moles (who, in turn, create annoying little tunnels and holes all through your yard).  

If, however, something is eating your plants, you are more likely facing a gopher.  These guys are voracious little buggers and view your garden as an all-you-can-eat salad bar, sans the sneeze-guard.  If you think that you're Fighting the Gopher Fight, then I recommend purchasing some castor oil granules and spreading them over your garden and lawn.  The granules don't hurt the gophers, and in fact, are good for your lawn.  As the granules mix with the soil, they give off a scent that gopher goblins aren't particularly fond of and it will encourage them to relocate.  Perhaps, if you're lucky, even to the yard of a neighbor you don't like. (kidding).

Hope this helps!

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