Rats are the bane of a lot of gardener’s lives. They are messy and destructive, and they can cause a lot of damage to your beautifully tended vegetable patch!
If you are wondering how to keep rats out of my vegetable garden, you are not alone. Let’s look at how it can be done.
How To Keep Rats Out Of My Vegetable Garden
They say that wherever you are in the world, you are never more than ten feet away from a rat – and this is especially true of vegetable gardens.
Rats will eat just about anything, and yes, this does include your lovingly-grown vegetables!
If you have a compost bin then you are almost certain to have rats – they are attracted to rotting food (lovely, I know).
It can be really tricky to get rid of rats once they have established themselves, so let’s look at how you can keep them out in the first place.
- Fencing. Yes, they are notorious climbers and leapers, but a decent fence should be able to keep out even the most tenacious rodent.
- Rodent deterrents. These electrical devices emit a sound that rats hate, so installing one of these gadgets around your veggie patch can really help.
- Remove the bird feeders. Sadly, rats will eat anything – including those tasty fat balls and bird seed that the garden birds love so much.
- Declutter your garden. Making sure that the rats don’t have places they can hide and nest in is key to keeping them out.
- Block access to decking, sheds and outbuildings. Making it hard for rats to find a place to live is another good way of keeping them out of your garden.
- Change it up. Moving things around in your garden will help to deter them as they like a quiet, safe place to live and to nest.
- Turn the compost heap. We don’t always remember to do this, but giving the heap a good turn once in a while will help to prevent those little tunnels and living quarters.
What Is The Best Natural Rat Repellent For Gardens?
Fortunately, there are quite a few plants that you can grow which will actively help to keep rats out of your garden.
They are not particularly keen on strong smells, so growing garlic, lavender, marigolds, sage and oregano can help.
On the strong smells subject, you can use essential oils to keep rats away too – try peppermint, citronella or eucalyptus.
Another really great “natural” rat repellent is things that eat rats. If you like pets, why not get yourself a cat or a dog?
If you don’t want to bring pets into the mix, try sprinkling crushed pepper or chilli all around your perimeters. Rats dislike the smell and the taste, so this may keep them out.
If the natural ways don’t work, you can always try to buy a poison that is specifically designed for garden use.
What Scent Do Rats Hate The Most
Although they are notorious for eating anything and everything, there are a few things that rats really don’t like, even if they are desperate.
These rodents have a very acute sense of smell, so anything that is very strongly scented can have the potential to put them off.
- Peppermint. Although this is a lovely, fresh smell to us humans, rats really dislike the smell and will tend to avoid areas with it in.
- Garlic. A wonderful food, garlic is nonetheless very offensive to rats! You can try growing it, or sprinkling crushed cloves around your garden to keep them at bay.
- Eucalyptus. Using this essential oil around the garden will certainly help you to deal with your rat problem – just soak some cotton wool balls and leave them in areas where rats go.
- Cayenne pepper. Although we humans love the spicy kick, cayenne has a smell that is very offensive to our rodent, er, friends.
- Vinegar. This fish and chip shop staple is truly offensive to rats, so spread it around the place in jars, dishes or cotton balls, to deter your pest problem.
Smells are incredibly evocative – and can also be very useful in dealing with a pest infestation – as long as you choose the right ones! Why not go for all of the above?
Does Vinegar Keep Rats Away?
Vinegar is a wonderful substance, that can be used for just about everything from cleaning to cooking and most things in between.
To add to its powers, vinegar is also a fairly effective rat deterrent too! They dislike the sharp scent and taste of it, so having it around the place will definitely help.
It is advised that you soak cotton balls in strong vinegar (cider or white vinegars work the best) and place them in rat-traffic areas.
You shouldn’t just sprinkle it on the soil, as this can affect the plants that you grow in your garden.
Here’s a short vinegar showing you how to use vinegar to ward off rats, and why they dislike it:
Why Do Rats Suddenly Appear In Garden?
Rats are very determined to, and very good at, surviving. They will go anywhere there is a food source, and if there’s a place they can nest and breed then so much the better!
If you have suddenly noticed an influx of rats in your garden, it is probably because they have found a place to eat and to sleep.
Lots of us have bird feeders, which can attract rats like bees to a honey pot. They pick up the fallen seed, and can even climb up and help themselves.
If your shed has been standing for some time and has developed holes anywhere in its structure, rats may have found a way to get in and nest.
Rats can also be attracted to compost heaps, so make sure yours is well covered, and that you do not put food or kitchen scraps in there.
Where there are chickens there are inevitably rats, so if you keep backyard chickens you should check the run regularly for holes and tunnels.
Rats can be a tricky problem – once one appears, it tells all its friends and then before you know it you have an infestation.
However, keeping them out of your vegetable garden shouldn’t be too tricky, now that you have some great ideas on how to do so!