You never know who is going to scamper across your front yard or dawdle and munch in your garden. I took this picture of Stinky, our resident skunk, skipping across our lawn yesterday evening. I’m afraid Stinky is responsible for digging up a gladiola bulb in our new flower bed.
Skunks, however, aren’t the only varmints we contend with in northern Missouri. Armed with a broom, I chase a rabbit every morning from my flowers. I bought a beautiful yellow hibiscus a couple of weeks ago and the deer have eaten half of it. The raccoons wiped out all, except for one ear, of our sweet corn last summer. A gopher ate all of our newly planted peanuts last year. So what is a gardener to do?
I put fences and cages around as many vegetables as possible. My husband built cages to surround our barrels of lettuce and broccoli. He also created a few more portable cages to protect new seedlings of watermelon, zucchini, peppers, and eggplant.
I’ve had mixed results with repellent sprays. The ones I’ve used are a nasty smelling garlic mixture that are expensive and wash off after a rain. Also, it seems that the deer get used to their smell after a while. Fencing off the garden has been the most effective method in keeping the deer away from the vegetables. But not just any old fence will keep a raccoon out of a sweet corn patch. An electric fence is the best “defense” against a raccoon.
But what am I going to do about the skunk? Well, I know I won’t be chasing with a broom like I do with our rabbit! I’ve resorted to using the smelly repellent. But would a bad odor repel a skunk????