It’s planting season, and in this house, that means IT’S ON! There is an all-out war against the cute and furry rodents known as the North American Gray Squirrel that digs up the crocus and tulip bulbs and digs through the terra cotta pots looking for more crocus and tulip bulbs and the occasional acorn.
Seriously, between the squirrels and the rabbits, maintaining a garden in a city neighborhood where critters thrive without covering it with chicken wire is a pain.
Over the weekend the annual household herb potting occurred in the collection of terracotta pots and in the pots, once the plants were all seated in the fresh potting soil, the gardeners (that would be me and a sibling) took defensive action.
We sprinkled Cayenne Pepper on the surface of the soil.
The idea of using the hot stuff is to non-lethally burn the little paws of the rodents. Do it enough times, and the creatures will not come back and dig through the pots anymore. They will learn what happens to their feet when they do.
There is no interest in poisoning the squirrels or the rabbits as the neighborhood ecosystem now includes fairly large hawks that make meals out of the critters, but doggone it, today the herb pots had been disturbed. There was wet soil all over the patio.
So, a new layer of Cayenne Pepper was sprinkled on the soil. Again. For this application, the house brand of the local grocery store is strong enough. For some added power, there are do it yourself recipes online that include adding red pepper flakes, and paprika. (This can also be added to bird seed as birds can’t taste the spice.)
This will be a daily application after watering or rain until the little buggers get the idea that this gardener would rather they dig somewhere else.
I mean, seriously, they’ve stolen a good number of the crocus bulbs and have figured out how to outsmart the “squirrel-proof” bird feeders. It’s time to teach the little rodents a lesson they are not likely to forget.