Your garden is your pride and joy, and you put a lot of time and effort into making it flourish. So you’re going to want a rat proof garden.
As a gardener, rodents are one of your biggest nightmares. They eat your crops, leave droppings everywhere, spread disease, and hide in the most inconspicuous places. Not only that, but they multiply insanely fast.
In fact, a rodent only has a three-week gestation period. It can birth up to 14 babies per litter, and a female can have up to 10 separate litters each year. And that’s just one rodent. So if you notice any rodents in your garden, you are going to want to act swiftly to eliminate them.
You can’t use a pest control option that will harm your plants, and you don’t want to use one that will harm the environment. And if you’re a pet owner, you want something safe around your animals.
Likely, you’ll be asking how to keep mice out of garden beds by now! Luckily, there are many natural ways to both kill and deter rodents so that you can keep your crops and flowers growing beautifully all season long.
Skip The Mulch
Yes, mulching is amazing for adding organic nutrients to the soil and for weed control, but it can be bad if rodents are an issue. It seems to just draw them in, begging them to make a nest and get comfortable.
If you must mulch, opt for the wood-chip variety since they shouldn’t be able to bury themselves underneath it.
Get A Cat
Cats love to hunt mice; that’s not a secret. If you want to get rid of mice without having to lift a finger, get an outdoor cat to take care of them!
The great thing about cats is that they can fend for themselves. As long as you make sure the cat has food, water, and shelter available (and that it’s spayed or neutered), then you’re set.
The smell of mint is a natural deterrent for rodents. This makes it a great addition to any garden. Keep a few pots around the perimeter of your garden and inside the greenhouse.
If you don’t want another plant to tend to, you can also scatter dried mint around the openings of the greenhouse. Alternately, soak some cotton balls in peppermint oil and let them do the job. Just make sure to replace them every couple of weeks.
Put Up Solar-Powered Repellers
By using ultrasonic frequencies, these little gadgets utilize sound and vibrations to scare rodents and keep them away. Since they’re solar powered, they are still environmentally friendly, and they should keep the rodents at bay.
One unit covers about 6,000 square feet, so you may need a few of them depending on how large your garden is. As the frequencies are geared towards rodents specifically, the sounds will not be noticeable by you, your children, or your pets.
Create A Border Of Herbs
In addition to mint, most rats and mice are put off by strong herbal scents, such as basil, echinacea, garlic, and thyme. To keep away the rodents, plant a border of these herbs around the outside of your garden. Once the rodents smell them, they will think your garden has nothing to offer and they’ll turn away.
Use Humane Mouse Traps
The traditional snap traps work, but they are not always effective, and when they are, it is not a pretty sight. There are several mouse traps out there that use other methods, like the Nooski mouse trap (not an affiliate, just a good product).
When the mouse is lured into the trap by the bait, a latex ring is sprung around the rodent’s neck to suffocate it. This type of trap makes cleaning the mice up easier, and it has a very high success rate.
Store Pet Food Securely
Another huge attraction for mice and rats is pet food and chicken feed. Make sure you place these edible attractions where rodents cannot access them easily, and limit how much you put out at a time.
It’s a good idea to use an airtight storage container like a Vittles Vault to store your pet food. Not only does it keep the food fresh, but it locks all the food aromas inside.
Build A Sturdy Fence
If you don’t have a fence already, build one. If you do have a fence around your garden, then you need to make it more secure. Often, rodents will crawl under the garden gate, so pay extra attention to this area and reinforce it.
Rodents also burrow under fences. You can stop them with some 1/4″ grid hardware cloth. Dig a trench along your fence, going 6″ down and about 6″ out from the fence. Staple the hardware cloth to the base of your fence. Then, bring it down below the soil surface and cover it. This creates an underground barrier.
Sprinkle Instant Potatoes
Instant potatoes are cheap, and they are surprisingly effective at eliminating rodents. Simply sprinkle a few tablespoons of the powder wherever you suspect a mouse infestation. The mice will eat them (obviously), and after they do, the flakes will expand in their stomachs.
Since their stomachs are so small, the mice won’t stand a chance, and they will die before the potatoes can be digested. However, if you have other pets, be careful that they don’t eat your potato flakes!
Place Onions Around The Garden
Onions are pungent, and rodents hate them, and you don’t even have to grow them for this trick to work. All you have to do is place an onion where you suspect the mice are entering, and they will take one smell and run the other way.
You just have to make sure to put a new onion out every couple of days or it will rot. And again, keep the onion away from any pets, as onions are poisonous to dogs!
Alternately, consider growing onions, leeks, and garlic around the exterior of your garden beds. That tends to repel a number of pests, not just rodents.
When you have devoted countless hours to meticulously care for your garden, the last thing you want to worry about is a rodent infestation that destroys it all. By taking some extra steps to keep the rodents away, you can keep your garden fruitful all season long.
Author Bio: Michael is an avid gardener who has ample experience keeping rodents out of his garden using natural methods. As an employee of Richland Pest & Bee Control, he helps his customers across Connecticut and Massachusetts keep their gardens and homes pest free.