Pest And Animal Control At Anderson Allotment Gardens

by George Bushell

During recent seasons at the Anderson Garden site, we seemed to have experienced an exceptional number of pests, especially of the animal kind.  In case some of you were thinking of giving up gardening at Anderson, there are ways to thwart these pests and to have a successful season.Some of these methods are summarized below.


The most effective way to prevent deer damage is to erect a “deer fence” around your garden.  Black plastic deer fence, which is 7 feet high, can be purchased at Home Depot, Rona, Lee Valley and other gardening outlets.  You can purchase a roll of 100 feet for $30 to $40.00.  Eight foot untreated 2 x 2 stakes cost about $2.00 each (10 to 12 would be needed for one garden).  You would install the stakes around your garden in the spring and then staple the deer fence to them. In the fall, you would remove the fencing and stakes.  The stakes and fencing can be used for several years.  When spread over a number of years, the initial cost of about $75.00 seems small.  Of course, if two or more adjacent gardeners erected a fence around a number of gardens, the cost per garden would be even less.

In 2007, a floating row cover was found to be effective at preventing most deer damage.  These floating row covers, often called Remay, can also be purchased at most establishments that sell gardening supplies and plants (Lee Valley sells a 7ft x 50ft roll for $19.95 plus taxes).  They can also be purchased from many seed and garden catalogues and the covers can be used for a number of seasons.

I have tried both blood meal and a mixture of rotten eggs and water to try and prevent deer damage in 2007, but without much success.

Electronic sound devices are also available (e.g., Stokes Catalogue) and some people claim Irish Spring soap hung around a garden will keep deer away.


Some gardeners have had considerable success at keeping groundhogs away by sprinkling blood meal around their garden – blood meal can be purchased at Ritchie’s and other garden supply stores.


Floating row covers and blood meal seem to be the best defence against these pests.
Racoons can strip the corn from our plants just as it starts to ripen, and were starting to make a mess of my corn in 2007.  I have tried spreading dog hair that I obtained from a pet grooming establishment around my corn in past years, but because most of the dogs had been shampooed, it did not keep the racoons away.  In 2007r, I went to my local barbershop and got a garbage bag full of human hair.  I spread it around the corn and the racoons did not bother my corn for 5 days.  Likely, the smell goes away in 5 days, so one would have to replace it at least every five days.  However, the racoons only eat our corn for about 10 to 14 days while it is ripening, so it is not a big job to replace the hair every 5 days.  Barbershops are everywhere and produce a lot of hair every day.  Furthermore, human hair is bio-degradable and composts into the soil well.  But be sure to only use hair from a male barbershop – female hair has usually been shampooed and this pleasant smell will not deter racoons.

Crows are not usually a problem, but in some years they will pull the small 2 to 3 inch newly emerged corn plants from the ground in order to eat the kernel still attached to the root system.  However, a floating row cover placed over the corn until the plants are about a foot high will be totally effective at preventing crow damage.

See Fleurette Huneault’s web article for floating row cover and natural pesticide approaches to unwanted insects as well as my article, “Managing Insects Naturally…”, that can be found on this web site as well.

The Anderson garden site is such a tranquil and pleasant place to garden that I would not want a gardener to abandon their plot because of a few animal or insect pests.  As noted above, and in Fleurette’s article, they can be controlled.