How to deter pets from your veggie garden

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We often get asked about how to effectively keep dogs and cats out of the veggie garden. We have many clients that don’t even own animals and find the neighbour’s cat using their patch as a litter tray. So here are some ideas to prevent them from digging, playing and pooping in your veggie garden.

The most obvious deterrent in keeping out the family hound is to build a fence around your vegetable garden. Bear in mind, all vertical spaces create shade so making this fence out of wire is a good idea – chicken wire works great for this purpose and also doubles up as the perfect vertical climbing structure for beans and peas. Remember to introduce a gate or similar so you can get in.

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As with most things, prevention is better than cure so teaching your animals, especially when they’re young, that veggie patches are no go areas is key to ensuring minimal damage later on. Of course, we would never advocate any kind of cruelty to any animals so be mindful when applying new techniques to stop pets from ‘soiling’ your veggie patch.

Mulching your soil can go some way to deterring some pets but in our experience, not cats. Cats tend to tread carefully when scoping out new areas to do their business and with this in mind, we have had good success with introducing some pruned branches from spiky shrubs and trees like Acacias or Carissa’s – this works especially well in pot plants and raised beds. They learn very quickly not to use those areas.

Another good method we have found is to cut gardening bamboo canes into spikes and push them into the soil throughout the beds and around your veggies. This works as a great deterrent and makes it difficult or impossible for them to get comfortable.8016034_orig

We have also had good success with inter-planting scented shrubs around the veggie patch so taking this into consideration when planning what companion plants to use can help. Some of these of course can also be used to cook with. Some examples are Lemon Balm, Lemon Thyme and Lemon Basil, Lemongrass, Lemon Verbena and Lavender. Our local Pelargonium citronellum makes a great windbreak or shelterbelt plant, is richly scented and will also attract loads of beneficial insects. Cover crops like mustard could also be used and have the added advantage of acting as a bio-fumigator for soil borne pathogens and diseases.

We hope this is helpful, keep us up to date with your progress and let us know if you have any other deterrents not mentioned here, have a great day!!!