You've double dug the garden, added plenty of organic matter, raked it smooth, and planted your vegetable seeds. You're looking forward to a bountiful harvest of crisp lettuce, sweet carrots and juicy tomatoes. Unfortunately, so are several critters which would be happy to munch on those seeds you just planted, or the baby seedlings. Before the critters do damage, take steps to protect your newly planted garden.
Put stakes in the ground at each end of the vegetables rows. Tie string between the stakes. Cut aluminum foil, the kind used for cooking, in 1-inch-wide and 24-inch-long strips. Twist one end of the strip over the string to attach. Let the other end dangle freely. Place strips every 4 feet along the string. The movement of the foil and the sun glinting off it scares away the birds.
Put paper cups over the tops of the stakes. Throw bird netting over the cups to form a tent of netting. The cups prevent the netting from sliding down the stakes. Secure the netting to the ground with rocks so the birds can't get under it. Be vigilant in the first weeks. If the birds can't get to the seeds or seedlings they'll move on. If they can get under or through the netting, they will be much more difficult to get rid of.
Remove bird feeders and bird baths from near the garden and relocate in the front yard. There are some birds that feed on insects that are bothersome to your garden. Moving the feeders discourages birds that like seeds but won't discourage the birds that like insects.
Place row covers over the rows.
Cover the seeds with a mulch of straw or shredded newspapers.
Cover the rows with clear plastic kitchen wrap. The wrap keeps the soil moist and heats the soil. Seeds sprout faster in warm soil.
Fence the garden. Dogs and children love to play in the dirt. Fencing keeps them out until the seeds have sprouted. Cage the garden. Fence it with 1/2-inch wire mesh, then add a cover of mesh.
Place stakes in the garden every 6 feet. Connect the stakes with string. Attach balloons to the strings every 3 feet.
Put pet hair clippings around the perimeter of the garden. Sprinkle hot pepper flakes around the perimeter of the garden. Plant strongly scented herbs and flowers around the perimeter. Good flower choices are geranium and marigolds.
About this Author
Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on GardenGuides.com, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.