In just a few nightly raids, raccoons can decimate the crop of fruits and vegetables you've worked so hard to grow in your garden. According to Utah State University Cooperative Extension, common signs of raccoon infestations in your vegetable garden include damaged ears of corn (partially husked and eaten) and hollowed-out melons with holes in them, as well as their distinctive hand-shaped footprint.
Before you even see signs of raccoons in your garden, develop a preventative plan to minimize your chances of having problems in the first place. If raccoons have already invaded, try to use a variety of these techniques to discourage them from even wanting to come near your garden.
Install an electric perimeter fence around your garden. Excluding the raccoons from your garden is most likely the most successful tactic you can use to keep them out. Traditional fencing, such as woven wire or picket fence, typically won't keep raccoons out since they can climb over or burrow under these fences; Utah State University Cooperative Extension states that you should reinforce an existing fence with a single electrified wire 8 inches above the ground and 8 inches out from the fence.
If you don't have a fence in place, simply install a two- or three-wire electric fence around your garden's perimeter; make sure one wire is about 6 inches above the ground and one of the other wires is about 6 inches above that one. For safety purposes, consider keeping your fence turned off except at night.
Remove overhanging branches from nearby trees. Even after you install a fence, persistent raccoons can still invade your garden by climbing up on nearby trees and dropping into your garden from the overhanging branches. Check your garden perimeter and use tree trimmers to cut back any branches that hang into your garden.
Use a raccoon-proof compost container. Spoiled fruit and vegetables in a compost pile located close to your garden will draw raccoons to your gardening area like a magnet. If you dispose of food scraps in your compost, enclose your compost in a closed container such as a compost tumbler that the raccoons cannot access.
Remove other food sources that are located near your garden. The raccoons are invading your garden because it's got food in it that they enjoy; they may continue to come around if you have other tempting sources of food that are located near your vegetable garden. Secure the lids of any outside garbage cans with elastic bungee cords or, better yet, move them to an area that raccoons can't access, such as a secure garage.
Check for other accessible food sources near your garden, such as bowls full of pet food or opened bags of livestock feed; place any that you find in secure locations at night, the time of most raccoon raids.