pastrycheffowler
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Location: orange county CA

Rats or squirrels eating my plants

so my plants have been thriving, in fact i have had several of my plants start producing multiple fruits each, one in perticular(golden russian watermelon) had 3 watermelons the size of softballs on it. all was well and then one got eaten, and the next night the other two(this was 4 days ago) now this pest is eating all the little starts of fruits on these plants, and nibbling on anything that is fruiting. no they arent taking out one fruit at a time, they are going from plant to plant and destroying all the fruits. now that i am one golden russian plant down and soon they will take out my others what can i do to stop them completely? im a organic farmer. and i want to stay that way.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

If you think it is rats or squirrels (or woodchucks or raccoons or other 4-footed beasties), the only thing to do is fencing. This can be cheap and easy up like deer netting, but you will never get to eat any of your produce if you don't keep the critters out and nothing but fence will do that.
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pastrycheffowler
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

ok thanks

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

depends on fowlers location, how citified, etc. But could be anything. Melons are one of those things like corn that everyone from birds to deer to every small four footed creature under the sun likes. Raccoons would go crazy for them. I live 4 miles from downtown and have tons of raccoons, groundhogs, squirrels, shrews, voles, mice, as well as the occasional deer.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

pastrycheffowler
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

i live in the suburbs of orange county California. i was thinking raccoon at first but then i looked at the little nibble marks that hare happening on my bell peppers and other veggies and figured it had to be something smaller. i have a dog in the yard most of the day and haven't heard her going ballistic like she does when squirrels go after our bird feed. the deer netting has 1 inch gaps, wouldn't a small critter like a rat be able to get through that? and its made out of plastic, so wont they just chew right through it.

pastrycheffowler
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

oh its worth noting that we use to have 2 familys of small animals living in our backyard, 1 was a family of racoons that lived in a huge palm tree that we had and that were living off the fish in our quoi pond, and the other was a bunch of rats that were living in a stone waterfall we had near that pond, although the palm tree and waterfall/pond have been gone for 5 years. dono if that helps with what wildlife may be in the area.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

What you are calling deer netting is not the same as what I am referring to, also called bird netting. It has fine mesh 3/4" or less and is very strong. I used it for years and nothing ever got through it, though it was quite entertaining watching the woodchuck try.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

pastrycheffowler
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

yeah i got some poultry netting today its got 1/2 inch gaps. gunna use it once it cools down tonight

estorms
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

A chipmunk or a small rat can get through a hole the size of a quarter. I have fenced, trapped, netted, sprayed and bombed. The only sure way to get rid of a pest is to kill it. I would let them have some of the garden, but they want it all. Check the laws in your local area. What is perfectly all right in a rural area might not be legal where you live.

JustNorthofDFW
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

I have a brazen squirrel that will walk straight across from me only maybe two feet away. It moves pretty quick so I don't have a chance to scare it off.

Have you tried sprinkling your plants with cayenne pepper? I've put it on me tomato plant and nothing seems to want to mess with it :)

estorms
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

We have four chipmunks and three squirrels that are quite tame. The chipmunks will eat from my hand, the squirrels would if I let them. They never eat anything from my garden (about three feet off the deck) The only thing they have eaten besides the peanuts I give them, is a small Christmas cactus. The chipmunks chew on that all the time. I keep a water dish on the deck and I am surprised at how much and how often they drink. Could those varmits be eating your tomatoes because they are thirsty? Rabbits and woodchucks will eat things if they can get under the fence.

estorms
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

My niece works in a research lab. When a mouse gets away, they put out a tall plastic pail with something the mouse likes to eat, make steps from books, and wait. The mouse will go up the makeshift steps, get in the pail for the food, and can't get out because the sides are too smooth.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

Yeah, I once had a stupid oppossum drown itself head down in a 2 gallon plastic bucket of water. Apparently it got its head down there, maybe slipped in more, couldn't get out because of the smooth sides.

Speaking of bold and brazen -- I was sitting on my deck eating a tomato and cheese sandwich for lunch at high noon. Noticed a moving shadow or something and looked. There was a big old raccoon, already under the patio table I was sitting at, maybe two feet away and headed straight towards me! I stomped my feet and yelled and he turned around and waddled off - not really running.

There was nothing else on the deck he would want - pots of flowers and herbs. What was he going to do, snatch the sandwich right out of my hand? :shock: And whatever happened to being nocturnal? I see them any time.
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estorms
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Re: Rats or squirrels eating my plants

Yes, he would take the sandwich out of your hand. Some of them are very bold. When he is done with your sandwich, He will go out to your garden and eat anything that is almost ripe. Perfect for him is about three days before perfect for you, so he will always get his first. If you have a dog, put it in your garden at night. (Maybe you should keep it under the table while you eat) :D

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