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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

Keep Pests — and Pets — Out of the Garden

Nasty smells and fake snakes do the trick

Solutions to the perpetual problem of protecting your favorite plants from deer, rabbits, groundhogs and squirrels are on the shelves of your local garden center or farm supply. There are two materials on the market that I have tested and found effective, providing you follow directions carefully. They are Liquid Fence and Repels-All by Shot Gun. Both contain some of the same ingredients, with the exception that Repels-All adds dried blood. Both have the strong odor of garlic because both contain garlic oil. Both also contain putrescent egg solids. And both are available in liquid and granular form.
    The strong garlic and putrid egg smell in both materials persists for a couple of days.
    After testing Repels-All last summer on a bed of lettuce as well as around my vegetable garden, I quickly realize that repeated applications, at monthly intervals, assure better protection. My current practice is to sprinkle a one-inch wide band around the perimeter of the garden as soon as the vegetable plants are growing vigorously. Friends who have tested the liquid form inform me that they are getting great results by monthly spraying of the fence or rails surrounding their gardens.
    I have used granular Repels-All to prevent our recently acquired rescue dog Lusby, a Carolina dingo, from napping in my newly planted strawberry bed. I sprinkled a light application of Repels-All over the plants. After a few minutes, she returned to take a nap but left after one sniff and has not returned.
    If you use the granular form, do not store the open container because it will absorb moisture, clump solid and lose potency.
    If birds are a problem in the garden, a few pieces of three- to five-foot-long hose or plastic pipe smeared with Vaseline will keep the robins away from strawberry plants and black birds and crows away from germinating bean and corn seeds. Birds are fearful of snakes.


Yes, Stinkbugs Will Feed in Your Garden

Q    Stinkbugs are driving me crazy. We have had a real problem with them in my house. Now I am worrying about my garden. I hear they do the most damage to tomatoes and peppers. Can you recommend how to deal with them?

–Linda Mitchell, lindamitchell343@comcast.net

A    I am sorry to say that good control of stinkbugs requires pesticides mostly not available to home gardeners. Last year I lost nearly two percent of my peaches to stinkbug damage, and this year the problem will be worse. As soon as USDA provides us with safe materials, I will publish the news in Bay Weekly.


Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.