How to Keep Animals from Eating the Food Out of Your Garden


Gardeners love the natural look in the garden until the critters start wandering in. Deer and rabbits both are drawn to emerging vegetables and new seedlings while animals like moles not only destroy root systems but can devour root veggies from the underside. No one magical solution exists, so be prepared to try a combination of ideas for best results. Fighting the good fight against those rabbits, deer and other animals can be frustrating, but a few techniques can help save your veggies for the ones you grew them for--your family.

Step 1

Use a cayenne pepper spray to protect thick-skinned vegetables such as corn. Spray stalks and cobs with a water bottle that contains a touch of tabasco or cayenne. After deer or raccoons get that first bite, they won't come back for a second. Don't spray anything that could soak up the heat from the peppers.

Step 2

Hang pie pans from string on stakes around the edges of your garden. As the shiny pans sway in the wind and clink around, they'll scare most animals and birds away.

Step 3

Scatter human hair clippings around plants especially susceptible to pests. Many deer find this especially offensive and stay away.

Step 4

Plant marigolds and herbs around the perimeter of your garden. Rabbits in particular are repelled by the pungent scents of these plants and will stay away.

Tips and Warnings

  • Scarecrows and decoy owls and hawks make better decorations than deterrents. They might work for awhile, until the animals realize that they aren't moving.

Things You'll Need

  • Cayenne pepper mixed with water spray
  • Aluminum pie tins
  • String
  • Stakes
  • Human hair clippings
  • Marigolds and herb plants


  • Hobby Farms: Keep Your Gardens Protected
  • Project Wildlife: Keeping Animals Out of the Garden

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Living with Wildlife
Keywords: deer deterrent, rabbit, pests in garden

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.