Squirrel proofing my garden had proven quite futile. I really did not know that they were such voracious little DIGGERS! Or that they BURIED their nuts in the ground; and not in a ‘bunch’, but one by one! Of course it doesn’t help that several neighbors down the street have bird AND squirrel feeders. Or that I have a nice BIG tree for them to climb in my yard.
My ‘first line of defense’ against the dreaded digging squirrels had been to keep my yard ‘pine cone free’. The big ole pine tree in my yard overhangs the front garden area; and several pine cones fall into this flower bed DAILY. The pine cones end up ALL OVER the front yard.
A few days ago I picked up 140 of them! And ALL of those fell in 24 hours. Later that same day I picked up another 50 of them. Every morning I go out with my little bucket and my handy dandy ‘reacher grabber stick’ and pick up the pine cones that have fallen. The grabber stick makes it easier on my bad back when there are so many of them to pick up. Even IF the squirrels didn’t like the pine cones, I’d still need to pick them up to save my lawn.
After I pick up pine cones and dump them in my yard debris bin; I check all the ‘young plants’ to be sure the squirrels have not dug them up. They tend to prefer the ‘softest dirt’, so the new little seedlings are prime targets. Usually have to re=plant a few every day; and fill up other holes that have been dug.
Many of the plants that I started from seed were getting big enough to be transplanted into the ground. But they are so small and the roots still so delicate that they would not survive being dug up by the squirrels. (Slightly bigger plants, like the store-bought starts, are grown enough that they will survive with the roots exposed over-night) HOW do I protect ‘my babies’ from the tyranny of the digging squirrels??
It looks pretty silly, but so far it seems to be working! (bit it has only been 2 days!) I used 12″ bamboo skewers and 8 oz plastic cups. I cut and X in the bottom of the cup with a box cutter to insert the skewer though; and pushed the skewer in the ground next to the seedling. They still get light (slightly filtered so as to protect them from too much sun) and water will seep under the cup to keep them watered.
When the seedlings get bigger I just lift them off, save them to re-use of course! About the time that these guys are ready to fend for them selves, another batch of seedlings should be ready to transplant.
MOST of the plants I’m starting from seed are perennials; just a few are annuals, like Marigolds. But Marigolds are so easy to harvest the seeds from and re-plant. Plus Marigolds keep some predators away. The point IS, I won’t have to go though all this work AGAIN, year after year! Thank God for perennial flowers!