In which we fight back against the war they started (the squirrels and rabbits, that is…)

This weekend was going so well until this happened:


And this:



Okay, let me back up a little.

At the end of last weekend, we had planned to do some tomato and pepper transplanting this weekend. It sounded all well and good; but once yesterday (Saturday) rolled round, we found ourselves to be simply exhausted. After several weekends in a row of work, work, work, we just needed a break. So we decided to take the weekend off. And it promised to be glorious!

Now, its not like we completely ignored the outside — we did a few small chores of course. But we laid off any major work in favor of relaxing and catching up on rest. No running to the Home Depot, no planting, no moving stuff from one end of the yard to the other. Or, that’s how Saturday went. (And it was glorious!)

We thought about transplanting stuff this (Sunday) morning, but the thought never really translated into action, and that was fine with us. However, our respite turned out to be short-lived. Every morning (or evening) we go out and survey how the plants are doing. Sometimes we find stuff like this:

Our watermelons are breaking through! Woohoo!
Who’s got four thumbs and are gonna be making some mad stir-fry? These guys! (Us. That’s how the joke works.)
The cucumbers are gonna start trellising any day now!

And this stuff makes us very happy!

But then sometimes we go outside and find this:

Meteor Crater in Arizona by (source)
Meteor Crater in Arizona by (source)

Okay, so not really. But we did find several holes in our corn patch, including a dug up corn plant. A little later, we also found a lovely rabbit hole, complete with a little grass bed, in our carrots. So the feeling was similar to being hit by a meteorite. Sort of.

After the lengths to which we went to try to protect the corn and our other garden plants (we’ll get into a discussion about cat hair later on), this violation was completely unacceptable.  Having caught several squirrels and rabbits digging up other parts of the garden, we were pretty sure who was behind the transgression. We went into a brief, reactionary rage, followed by a trip to the Internet, specifically YouTube with the search term “SQUIRREL REPELLANT.”`

The Internet, it is a strange and wonderful place. On YouTube we were treated to all manner of ways to get rid of squirrels, rabbits, and other pests from one’s garden, from ultrasonic devices to motion-controlled sprinklers. But we wanted a solution that required spending little to no money. We knew that outdoor rodents disliked onion, garlic, pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper, and the like. Many on the Internet confirmed this; and we also learned that other unfavorable smells included mint, peppermint, and cinnamon. We took all this information and steeped it, literally, into a “tea.” A disgusting, eye-burning, gut-wrenching tea.

Yum? Not on your life.

In a pot that will never, ever be used to cook human-grade food, we placed the following:

Cayenne pepper
Red pepper flakes
Hot chili powder
Minced garlic
Sliced onion

We brought all that to a boil and then let it steep for 20 minutes. It was really gross. Once it had cooled enough, we strained it into a spray bottle into which we had dropped some hot sauce, sriracha, a few drops of peppermint oil, and a few drops of cinnamon oil. Luckily, no Disney-esque demonic spirits were released from the potent mixture. Also, it was really, really gross.

Then, out to the garden we went. And we sprayed, and sprayed, and sprayed, using up about half of the nasty stuff. We kept an eye on things throughout the evening, and so far so good. No more plant dismantling, no more rodent circus in the back yard…for now. Unfortunately, it’s due to rain over the next day, so we’re not entirely sure if the concoction will keep it’s potency through wet weather. Thankfully (or not so much) we made enough for another application or two. But the bottle is not allowed back in the house. It’s been banished to the porch. Hopefully it won’t melt through the concrete.

The moral of the story: there are no days off in gardening. Also, would the world really miss a little gray squirrel or two or twelve? Is there a shortage of white-tailed rabbits? Hmmm…let’s just be thankful, I guess, that we don’t have deer.

And yeah, we’re back to work next weekend


8 thoughts on “In which we fight back against the war they started (the squirrels and rabbits, that is…)

  1. anonymous 06/03/2013 / 10:48 am

    Thanks for the tea recipe. I will try it if we see the same happening in our garden. With four dogs roaming around at all hours of the day and night I rarely see a squirrel or rabbit.

    • Garden State-ments 06/04/2013 / 5:19 pm

      You’re welcome! Our neighborhood is full of dogs and cats, yet they all seem to ignore the squirrels and rabbits. C’est la vie I guess.

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