Gardening is tough. Getting things to grow from seeds is a massive challenge, and even when you get them to sprout, you have to balance sun exposure, watering, nutrients in the soil, and a bunch of other factors to get things right.
If you’re seeing success in your garden, chances are you’ve been through your fair share of failure. That’s how we learn.
Animals and insects are a big problem gardeners have to tackle.
If you’re gardening outside, you’ve got snails, rats, rabbits, deer, grasshoppers, and a bunch of other bugs all trying to get to your tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, and whatever else is there depending on where you live.
If you live in a place like most suburban areas, then you’re going to be battling squirrels. Squirrels are smart little devils. They will find their way over, under, or through most garden barriers.
If you’ve got raised garden beds, they can make squirrels feel even more comfortable because they won’t feel as worried about predators as they would be on the ground.
Keeping squirrels out is hard, but it’s something you have to do if you want your flowers, fruits, or vegetables to survive.
Here are 11 ways to keep squirrels out of raised garden beds that you can try starting today.
Put Your Raised Beds Near Your Sprinklers
Squirrels hate getting wet. When you combine the threat of water with the unpredictability of when the sprinklers will turn on, it just might be enough to keep the squirrels away.
Yes, you’ll see them in your garden a few times probably, but all it takes is getting sprayed once or twice to keep them away for the most part.
Putting your raised beds near sprinkler heads is part of an overall strategy that combines getting your garden the care it needs with pest control.
The nice thing about most raised beds is that they can be moved. Some are moved more easily than others, but if it’s an option for you then this is something you should try.
Let the Dogs Out!
Dogs and cats are great pets, but they’re also very good pest deterrents. Even small dogs are scary enough to get rid of rats, mice, rabbits, and squirrels. The risk is too great for squirrels to spend any meaningful time on the ground or in your raised garden beds.
Give your pets enough time out in the yard, and you’ll start seeing fewer and fewer squirrels. Sometimes, just keeping a pet in the house is enough. The sound of a dog’s bark and their scent will scare squirrels off.
Put Your Raised Beds Behind a Fence
Fences work. It’s all about how high you want to go and how serious you are about keeping squirrels out. Squirrels are expert climbers and can dig pretty well too.
When you install fencing, make sure to go a good distance into the ground to stop them from digging holes.
If you can, make the top of your fence harder to get around than just a straight up and down the fence.
Even if the squirrels can climb over the fence, they may not want to because they’ll feel like they would be trapped inside if a predator (like a dog) were to come in.
Install a Feeder
There’s a saying about attracting more bees with honey or something like that. If you want to be nice, you can always try to win your squirrels over with treats that distract them away from your garden.
Installing a feeder with nuts, seeds, or fruit squirrels love will spare your tomato plants. Squirrels go for easy targets, and if they see something they like eating more that’s within reach, they’ll go for that instead of your raised beds.
Grab the Hose
If you’re too far from the sprinkler system or you don’t have one installed, there are other water options available.
Install a gun nozzle on your hose and put it somewhere you can grab it quickly. If you’re looking out your window and see squirrels messing around in your raised beds, you can run out, grab the hose, and give them a good bath.
Buy a BB Gun
Ok, so this solution isn’t for everyone, but we’re just putting it out there for people who are at the end of their rope. If you can’t stand the squirrels, you can kill them.
For whatever reason, people love squirrels. It’s probably the bushy tail, but remember, these are rodents. Rats are cousins with these guys. You can always shoot them to get rid of them.
Call Pest Control
If you want to get rid of the squirrels for good but you don’t have the heart to pull the trigger, then you can always call in the professionals.
Pest control companies can trap your squirrels and take them off of the property. Some companies will be more merciful than others, so if you’re inclined toward mercy, do some research on how the company deals with squirrel issues.
The PETA Path
According to some sources, PETA recommends putting down a mixture of garlic, cayenne pepper, salad oil, and horseradish.
You can mix it all up in a spray bottle and put it around the perimeter of your raised garden beds and anywhere else you don’t want squirrels to go. They will walk on it, maybe take a lick or two, and scamper away quickly once the pepper hits.
Hen Manure Can Work
For those inclined, hen manure is another squirrel deterrent that could do the trick.
For whatever reason, squirrels don’t like to be around chicken droppings. If you’re raising chickens, then getting the droppings will be no issue. However, you may have to do some searching to find some of it to sprinkle around your garden’s perimeter.
Yell & Scream
You can always go the primitive route and start yelling and screaming at the squirrels whenever they get too close to your garden.
Your neighbors will think you’re crazy, but the squirrels will get the message. The main problem here is that, sooner or later, the squirrels will figure out that you’re mostly bluster, and then they’ll start ignoring you. You’ll have to constantly ramp up what you’re willing to do to keep them out.
Put Your Raised Gardens in a Greenhouse
A more expensive option, but one that will work very well, is to transfer all of your raised beds into a greenhouse.
People buy and install greenhouses to help them grow all year long, but greenhouses also keep squirrels and other garden raiders out very effectively.
You can find greenhouses in all shapes and sizes, and having one will create a more stable growing environment where it’s easier to plant things from seed or you can plant something more exotic that wouldn’t do well in your natural climate.
As with most things in gardening, trial and error is key.
You’ll have to try different tactics out and see what works.
If the squirrels respond the way you want them to, then that’s great! If not, go back to the drawing board and try some more of these steps to keep them out of your raised garden beds for good.