November 23 - Janet S. has a problem:

"I am seeking your advice. This year I planted lots of kale to grow through the winter - many different varieties - and either the squirrels or other rodents are eating individual leaves, or chewing off the entire stalk! Don't want to work that hard just to feed those guys :).

Please advise if you now of humane repellents that would help keep them away. We live close to Vancouver, BC in Canada and have large trees in the yard. Otherwise it is a great spot and the kale has produced wonderfully! :)

Thanks so much for any advice you can give!"

I've had similar issues in the past. Around here it's generally been rabbits. There are a number of organic repellent sprays you can purchase for this; but the best solution I've found is fencing or caging the beds.

Depending on the size of the animal that's eating your kale, you can use something like the 2"x4" galvanized welded wire fence people use for livestock, chicken wire, or hardware cloth (if the critter is small). I usually buy the 4-foot wide stuff so I can fold the material into a long box that completely covers the bed - rabbits won't generally climb, but most other rodents can.

If you're reasonably sure the problem critter is a rodent, you could try one of the repellent organic sprays. I know they're supposed to be waterproof, but in our climate at this time of year... I personally think fencing is a better option, although it's definitely more expensive in the short term.

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This page was last updated November 23, 2013