Got my container garden underway this year thanks to FOOD52 and my tomatoes are looking promising. Too promising - at least to the neighborhood squirrels! Aside from wrapping the plants with chicken wire, any suggestions for keeping the furry-tailed little varmints away?

  • Posted by: wssmom
  • July 2, 2012


susan G. July 3, 2012
I remember reading about a home made version of the pepper spray, in Organic Gardening Magazine in the 70's(!). Basically, put lots of the hottest peppers you can get your hands on (or off) in a blender with water and puree.. Probably it was left to steep, strained and put in a spray bottle. With container plants, that (plus all the other suggestions) should be manageable. Anyone done this?
Pegeen, your squirrel doing sit-ups gave me a good laugh -- we had enough of the little thieves and gave up on feeders entirely.
mensaque July 3, 2012
Just be shure your dog isn't as much a glutton as the squirrels...As a little girl,I had a boxer named Scott who ate the green bell peppers our maid planted at the orchard we had behind our house...She was maaaad!
mensaque July 3, 2012
Get a dog...just to scare them off;not an angry one,poor squirrels!
Pegeen July 3, 2012
@wssmom... I can't swear as to whether beer dilutes the effect or not, but don't laugh, it really does work. Plus it's very neighborly of you and a good example of "sustainable" gardening. :-)

@ellenl... Laughing at your story... I bet that squirrel read you the riot act, for interfering with the all-you-can-eat buffet. I think there are squirrels vacationing somewhere, sitting in teeny lawn chairs and popping open miniature cold ones, laughing about us.
ellenl July 2, 2012
I once had a hot pepper spray bought at a garden center to spray on plants to keep the squirrels from eating them. It worked. In the fall, I put pumpkins on the steps, the squirrels liked them--I remembered the spray. One particular squirrel began screeching and howling. When I went to see what was going on, I am still certain he/she was glaring at me! It washed right off the produce after picking.
mensaque July 3, 2012
Pegeen July 2, 2012
I'm guessing you're container gardening on a patio or some non-dirt surface? Therefore this won't work but in case you do have a yard, human urine around the perimeter, not too far from the vegetable plants, will function the same type of deterrent as letting a dog mark its territory around your yard.

I highly recommend chicken wire so you don't sacrifice your tomatoes. If you haven't wrangled with squirrels before, they're very devilish varmints. I wouldn't waste time "playing nice" with them. Believe me, they'll quickly find something else to eat besides your nice tomatoes.

Not long ago, having tested just about every other model, found what truly looked like a "squirrel proof" birdfeeder that had only a skinny little wire ring about 6 inches from the food - not something a squirrel could sit on. I watched a squirrel figure out how to game it: he jumped off a tree limb and managed to barely grab onto the little wire rim. Then used only his back feet to hang upside-down off the wire rim and did SIT UPS to hoist his face up to the food tray, shove seed into his cheeks, then dropped back to hang upside down while he munched.Then did another sit-up, got more food, etc. A fine candidate for the Squirrel Olympics.
wssmom July 3, 2012
Got the neighborhood kids to mark the perimeter after their nightly game of beer pong ....
Rachel S. July 2, 2012
I agree with the dog advice and since I don't have one of my own, I borrow my neighbor's dog every week or so and walk him around the inside of my garden. So far, it seems to be keeping cats and other small animals away. Maybe someone you know would loan you their dog so you could do the same, especially if you repaid them in tomatoes!
mensaque July 3, 2012
beyondcelery July 2, 2012
You could also add some misdirection. In addition to deterrents, put a bird feeder of sunflower seeds (a squirrel's favorite!) in the far corner of your yard away from your garden. They'll probably go for the easy meal over the challenging tomatoes.
Benny July 2, 2012
take empty soda cans and put coins or small pebbles in them. then hang them around your chicken wire, or whatever enclosure. when the animals try to get by the enclosure, the cans shake and produce a noise which scares some animals away.
ChefOno July 2, 2012

Joy of Cooking advises following your favorite recipes for chicken.

Rachel S. July 2, 2012
petitbleu July 3, 2012
And we still think this is a viable solution, fyi ;)
inpatskitchen July 2, 2012
We have problems with rabbits and deer and I've heard the scent of human or pet hair helps to deter them. My dog, Jake, is shedding like crazy now so little bundles of fur are strewn all over the garden. We have a lot of squirrels also and they're not bothering anything yet!
MTMitchell July 2, 2012
That's what we do with our container garden -- the dog gets a serious brushing every week or so and we put her fur near the pots. So far it's definitely keeping the squirrels and birds at bay. We'll see how long that lasts....
wssmom July 3, 2012
Heading to barbershop for some today ...
Maedl July 2, 2012
I would opt for the chicken wire, too--and a chicken wire fortress at that. Squirrels are very smart when it comes to getting choice tidbits and often outsmart humans who try to deter them!
sdebrango July 2, 2012
I have found the only way to keep the little buggers away is to enclose the item. Spray's don't work, I have tried that. They decimated my garden only leaving what they didn't like. My neighbor lost all of their tomatoes and other vegetables. We have raccoons also so between the squirrels and raccoons I have given up growing anything. Chicken wire would be what I would use.
allans July 2, 2012
Try placing many mouse traps around (the old fashioned type) shouldn't hurt them, and after a bit they'll realize the fright isn't worth the effort. Works for cats, too
wssmom July 3, 2012
Mousetraps purchased!
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