All My Flowers: The Squirrels are in the Garden. What the Nuts?

Review for The Secret Garden
Dear Henry,

The other day, I woke to find Ziggy staring out the window, a big huge puppy smile on his face.  I joined him at the window and together we watched a squirrel pull one of my baby carrots out of the planter on the porch.  Ziggy turned to me with a look that said: "Isn't this the most fun ever?"

Ziggy isn't a very good guard dog.

It did draw attention to a problem that is growing in my garden.  The squirrels.

There are a lot of them around here.

I turned to Google for advice on how to protect my garden and, well, I am of a conflicted opinion as to the effectiveness of all of the tips the internet has offered.

The first tip was to scatter human and dog hair around the garden site.  I am going to go ahead and pooh-pooh this advice right from the start. If the area squirrels feel comfortable enough to come on to my porch where a dog lounges regularly, I can't imagine dog hair alone will deter them.

Several sites recommended installing a raptor perch and I don't feel this advice is particularly helpful either. I have a raptor in the area, two of them in fact, an owl and a hawk and yet, I still have an abundance of squirrels stealing my stuff.

Other people suggested planing nasturtiums, marigolds, and mustard around the garden because squirrels don't like them.  I don't know about planting mustard (I have never tried to grow it), but nasturtiums and marigolds are certainly garden-worthy additions, are known to deter other pests, and are pretty, so I am willing to give this idea a shot.  I will let you know how it goes.

They also recommend scattering cayenne pepper about the soil, which, sure, I'll try.

Of course, netting seems to be the "guarantee" and probably the one I will be employing (it seems to make the most sense and also seems to work for deer too) I have been pre-emptively putting cages around all of the seeds so that I can easily net the plants.  The trick, of course, will be finding a netting with an open enough weave to allow pollinators but close enough to prevent squirrel theft.

If all else fails, there is the Annual Squirrel Cook-Off Festival which occurs at the end of the summer.  I am sure they are always looking for more squirrels.

xoxo a.d.

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