How to Keep Pests out of Vegetable Gardens


There's nothing more maddening than finding that your produce has been nibbled before it's been picked. After all the work of preparing the soil, planting, watering and weeding, a half-gnawed ear of corn can drive a gardener mad. Get serious with prevention with these techniques.

Step 1

Install a fence. According to "The Big Book of Gardening Skills," you have the best chance of success if you get your fence in before you plant your vegetables, thus keeping the potential pests from knowing what you have growing back there. Not just any fence will do, though; you need something with small openings, such as chicken wire, or a sturdy wooden fence without openings between the slats.

Step 2

Plant herbs. Many herbs are specifically deterrent to both animal and insect pests and will discourage them from coming around to munch on the vegetables in your garden. Marigolds are one of the best as general insect repellent, plus it adds nice color to the vegetable garden. Mole plant is said to deter both moles and mice. Wormwood works as a border to deter animal pests.

Step 3

Spread moth crystals around corn rows. Creosote is another option. Raccoons don't like either, according to "The Big Book of Gardening Skills."

Step 4

Get a dog. There's nothing like the smell, sound and sight of a dog for scaring off deer, rabbit, and other little intruders. If you can trust Fido not to dig up your potatoes, let him have the run of the garden area; otherwise, chain him nearby or keep him in a kennel by the garden patch at night.

Step 5

Get a cat. Mice eat vegetables; cats eat mice. A purring, healthy, happy, outdoor kitty can do a lot to the local field mouse population. An active cat can also help discourage squirrels and birds from treating themselves to the garden buffet.

Step 6

Avoid creating habitats for garden pests. Thick mulching may be great for keeping down weeds, but 6 inches of hay is ideal for little pests to burrow in and under without you ever knowing about them--until you pick that half-eaten carrot.


  • The Big Book of Gardening Skills
Keywords: pest control, vegetable garden, animal control

About this Author

Annie Mueller is a writer, editor, professional blogger, website designer, and tutor. She attended Missouri Baptist College and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Mississippi State University, with a Summa Cum Laude standing. She has written extensively on gardening, parenting, education, and personal growth for women.