How To Use Plastic Forks To Keep Animals Out Of Your Vegetable Garden

As a gardener, you understand how annoying it is to have your beautiful vegetable garden terrorized by local wildlife, especially deer, rabbits, and squirrels. They're the most common perpetrators of destroying vegetable gardens, given the fact they'll eat virtually anything. Sure, you could use animal repellent to keep the pests out of your garden, but using all those chemicals isn't good for your produce or you. Spray repellents can damage (or even kill) your vegetables; plus, you're ingesting those chemicals when you sit down to eat a salad from veggies you grew.

Fortunately, there's a way to keep animals out of your vegetable garden that is inexpensive and free of chemicals — plastic forks. Yep, the utensils we use to eat our lunch on the go can act as a natural pest repellent. It's simple: Grab a bunch of plastic forks and place them generously throughout the garden, sticking them into the soil with the tines facing up. Watch how your vegetables grow now that they're safe from pests.

Why it works

You're probably wondering how sticking forks in the ground deters squirrels, rabbits, and other woodland creatures from hanging out in your vegetable garden. For starters, animals will confuse the forks as predators and stay as far away from them as possible. To them, no carrot is worth being attacked by a vicious predator. If the animals do try their luck in the garden, they'll quickly learn it's a dangerous place with pokey things that could stick them. All it takes is one stab to the foot, and that squirrel is gone for good.

The biggest reason animals are put off by plastic forks is because they can detect human scent on the utensils. They know to steer clear of whatever it is that's emitting our odor because it means a larger predator is nearby. Combine all of these factors together, and you get a pest-free garden. In the event the forks happen to break, it costs next to nothing to replace them.

Other chemical-free pest repellents

There are tons of natural pest-repellent options you can use to keep animals out of your vegetable garden, such as mint. Deer, squirrels, and other vegetable-eating thieves absolutely hate the smell of mint, so plant some in your garden to keep the animals at bay. The same goes for peppermint essential oil; squirrels, in particular, can't stand it. To use it as a repellent, combine 10 to 15 drops of peppermint oil and 1 cup of water. Give your plants a spritz every now and then to ensure the scent is potent.

Along those same lines, Irish Spring soap is another chemical-free way to keep animals out of your garden. Just like the mint, they're turned off by the scent of the soap. This doesn't mean you should start chucking full bars of soap directly into your garden. In order to make this work, place each bar in a small pouch, then tie it to a wooden stake and stick it in the soil. Add as many stakes as you think you need.