The Common Condiment That'll Keep Groundhogs From Eating Your Garden

Like many other backyard pests, groundhogs love to munch on garden vegetation. From sweet berries to leafy greens, there aren't many foods that these critters don't love, and it can be difficult to keep them away. However, groundhogs are not fans of spices, making common food items like Tabasco sauce the perfect way to deter groundhogs from your garden and keep your luscious fruits and vegetables all for yourself.

Also known as woodchucks, these large rodents are susceptible to predators like humans, coyotes, foxes, eagles, and hawks. With such dangerous predators after them, groundhogs have adapted and adopted heightened senses of smell, sight, and hearing. Because of these survival adaptations, groundhogs are very sensitive to extreme smells. Just as they love the sweet smell of fresh produce like broccoli and peaches, they are easily deterred by the scent of strong spices, like that of the red pepper found in Tabasco sauce.

How to incorporate it into your garden

Contrary to popular belief, applying Tabasco sauce to your garden isn't as simple as squirting it straight from the bottle around the perimeter of your plants. Fortunately, it's still a very simple and practical solution that uses common household items.

To make the perfect deterrent for groundhogs, deer, and other vegetation munchers, you'll need Tabasco sauce and liquid dish soap. Consider using Dawn or a biodegradable dish soap to make it more nature-friendly. Add half a bottle of hot sauce, water, and a tablespoon of dish soap to a watering can. Swirl it around to mix. Carefully apply the mixture on your plants' leaves (be sure not to put it on the actual fruits or vegetables) and reapply when needed, or after the solution has been washed away by heavy rain. The scent of the spicy Tabasco sauce with the soapiness of the detergent is the perfect combination to keep groundhogs away.

Other Hot Sauces

Many people have tried and recommended Tabasco sauce as a form of garden pest repellent. In fact, even farmers in the Netherlands use the American hot sauce to keep rabbits away from their crops — they see it as an extremely effective alternative to more harmful deterrents.

However, that doesn't mean that Tabasco sauce is the only suitable option to keep critters away. For sensitive-nosed animals like groundhogs, it's all about the scent. The smell of spice deters them, meaning that just about any brand of hot sauce should do the trick. Keep in mind that hot sauces come in a variety of heat levels and, the hotter the sauce, the more effective it can be as a repellent. From Frank's RedHot to Huy Fong Sriracha, hot sauce is a surefire way to keep groundhogs away from your beloved and hard-earned crops from first sprout to final harvest.