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RogueRose
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Living in Harmony - Is it Possible?

Soooo....I am about to break ground for new beds soon as it's the only thing I can really do right now (frankly I'm surprised I can even do this! I'm in NJ and we have had no winter and the ground is soft). and as I have been walking around in my yard and being vigilant and such, I have discovered that Mr. Groundhog is back and last night I discovered a skunk. I also have lots of rabbits.

Last year I had a small garden. The worst I noticed is that the groundhog would come and nibble on some leaves off of my brussel sprouts. Also someone was nibbling off the tops of my carrots. I put netting over these and that kept everything off these things. They left strawberries, arugula and corn alone.

This year though I'm expanding and I am doing a lot more lettuces and melons and things which I imagine is going to be a lot more enticing to rabbits and groundhogs - I have no idea about skunks but I think they're mostly carnivores.

Anyway I was thinking of getting a have-a-heart trap but I really want to stay away from this. If I turned the tables and I was doing what only came what was natural to me, and some giant came and trapped me and moved me somewhere to some place with other critters that have a territory and all that - that's just mean. I would like to be able to let the rabbits and critters to continue to live and forage here, but not bother my garden.

What tips do you guys have? I used pinwheels on the strawberries for birds and that helped....I haven't ever seen deer. My yard is partially fenced but I've chased the groundhog out - and he comes in and out under the fence so it doesn't keep him out!

Thanks in advance!

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rainbowgardener
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I live and let live pretty well. I have a resident groundhog and often baby groundhogs in spring (but then they seem to go find their own territories). I have way too many raccoons, occasionally opossums, tons of squirrels, tons of birds. The squirrels don't seem to bother my veggies much. They will take bites out of tomatoes if you let them, but otherwise don't bother things.

The biggest pest is the groundhog, though the raccoons will also eat all the the tomatoes and leave a big mess if given a chance. Even if I had space, I probably wouldn't try growing corn, because all the critters love it too much.

Generally I wrap the things the critters like most in deer netting. Since I grow mostly in raised beds, i just wrap the whole bed in deer netting and then pull it together over the top and stake it down at the bottom. I use this mostly for broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes. Everything else we mostly just share and since the groundhog has a whole hillside of native plants to herself, she isn't too bad at sharing the rest. Critters don't really seem to bother my lettuce too much, possibly because it is mixed in with chard and a bunch of herbs and other stuff.
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tomf
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You can put a rabbit fence around your garden, dig it into the ground to keep critters from digging under it.

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RogueRose
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Thanks for the replies everyone! I mostly plan on having corn and lettuces and melons.....and carrots. I will have some snap peas and maybe tomatoes (I never really been a fan, but I know others are!) and some beets and things. I've never noticed anything in the yard other than the rabbits and the groundhog. I have seen squirrels in the neighborhood but never in my yard. The skunk was a first time appearance - even my landlord was surprised as she's never seen one before! The worst I had last year was someone eating the carrot tops - I think it was the rabbits or the groundhog. I DID see the groundhog eating the leaves on the brussel sprouts on numerous occaisons but I dodnt really mind him doing that.

I do have the pinwheels from last year so I will probably continue with those...my sister has a husky that sheds profusely so I will have her collect his dog hair for me and definitely utilize that trick. Maybe it'll help that he's the closest dog breed to a WOLF!

I did use some sprays last year too....I can't say if they helped or not as I also used the deer netting.

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rainbowgardener
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The corn may be the biggest challenge! EVERYBODY loves corn. I used to live on a 5 acre property and tried growing corn. But the garden wasn't fenced. We had all the previously mentioned critters, plus deer, and a variety of rodenty things, wood rats, shrews, etc.

None of the critters care if the corn is ripe! You will have to work hard at protecting the corn if you want to eat any of it. And the deer netting cage that works for my broccoli and tomatoes is a little more difficult to manage for corn, since it is tall plants usually grown in larger patches. I eventually just gave up on the corn.
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RogueRose
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Nothing really touched it last year....I live in a pretty suburban, almost city-type neighborhood. It used to be country years ago! But now....well, so it goes. I am barely on half an acre, but still manage to grow a decent amount. Some of my ears I even exposed and no birds came to eat them (they got old and knocked over during the hurricane). But this time I'm putting the corn in a different place so we'll see.

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rainbowgardener
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I live in an urban, almost inner city environment, 4 miles from down town. And the 5 acre property is just a few blocks away. All those critters have learned to co-exist quite well. (I have seen deer quite calmly walking down city sidewalks.) In fact, as near as I can figure out, reading everyone's posts here, I may have MORE critters in my yard than some people who live on farms in the country. Maybe the critters are just more concentrated, because I only have 1/3 acre to play with. Maybe they have had more time to move back in, because it is very old, heavily wooded urban area (my house is closing in on 100 years old) with lots of huge old trees for habitat.

I don't know, maybe the farmers just have better fences...
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lily51
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Like marlin gardener, we live in the country on a farm. We've never had problems from wildlife, but there really is no cover near the garden and the woods is a quarter mile away. I would agree with her that living with wildlife is very possible.
As someone said rabbits may be a pest.
Our biggest pest was our 100 pound lab, Gabby, who loved tomatoes!

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RogueRose
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Same here - I'm in urban/city I guess. It's kind of on the fringe. I am near some woods too which I think brings out some of these woodland creatures. I'm sure there's more that I don't see....but so far the worst I've "battled" is the one groundhog. I haven't really seen the rabbits actually bother the garden much. I mostly see them out on the lawn. I've seen squirrels in the neighborhood but never in my yard for some reason. Never seen deer here at all. I think I'll just use the deer netting....that worked well to keep the groundhog out...and the rabbits if they were in there. I don't really want to use the sprays. They were stinky.

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HannahGrace
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Last year I had to fight 3 main things: drought, Japanese beetles and grounddhogs. The groundhogs may have been the worst. We trapped several and removed them to a different place but one eluded any attempts of relocation. He went after okra and green beans mainly. To make matters worse, he made his home in our neighbors' yard so I wasn't able to get at him very easily at all. I'd set our dog on him but we have a lap dog: the groundhog is about the same size as her! LOL! I saw the groundhog out again yesterday so I'm gearing up for the fight again this year. I'm ready to do almost anything to keep him out of my garden!

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tomf
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The farms near me are large fields and the wild life gets a small amount of what they plant. I on the other hand have to plan for wild life with every thing I plant, even flowers. To have a vegetable garden I have to put a fence around it.

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tomf
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Garden fence photos.

[img]https://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/twistedtomf/Garden%202010/_DSC0038.jpg[/img]

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tomf
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No edit button?

[img]https://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/twistedtomf/Garden%202010/_DSC0034.jpg[/img]

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tomf
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[img]https://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/twistedtomf/Garden%202010/_DSC0048.jpg[/img]

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tomf
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[img]https://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/twistedtomf/Garden%202010/_DSC0048.jpg[/img]

My solution.

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