I was fortunate this year to not have any squirrels or bugs invade my garden. I managed to do it without the use of chemicals, only using the ingredients found in my home. If you are wondering how I kept the squirrels at bay, I will share with you the advice my Grandfather passed on to me.
No matter how large or small your garden is, you need to have fencing around the perimeter. At the local home improvement centers, there are a few different types of fencing for gardens available to consumers. Depending on how much you want to pay for the fencing, this will determine which type of fencing you buy. The chicken wire fencing is popular with many gardeners, while others prefer to use the MAT poultry netting. The MAT poultry netting is a galvanized hex mesh netting that is coated in vinyl, providing a long lasting, durable, and flexible fencing. The cost of the MAT poultry netting is considerably cheaper then chicken wire, and easier to work with. You will also need to purchase poles, or wooden dowels to be support brackets for the fencing.
The first thing to do after you have planted and staked your vegetables is to lay out your fence poles or wooden dowels approximately every 2 feet around the perimeter of your garden. Starting at the corner of your garden, unwrap the fencing and weave the fence pole or dowel through the netting, and hammer the pole into the ground, repeat with all the poles around the perimeter of your garden. When you have reached the first pole you began with, cut the netting leaving approximately 2 inches extra on the end, secure this to the first pole using ties.
The next strategy in keeping the squirrels out of your garden is to plant marigolds. Perhaps you heard this works to keep rabbits out, but I found this works well for squirrels too. If you have a small garden of 10 feet by 10 feet, a half flat of marigolds should work well, since they do spread out as they grow. You will want to plant the marigolds spaced evenly apart around the outside perimeter of your fencing.
Another great way to keep squirrels out of your garden is to put the aluminum foil pie pans to use. To place the pans into your garden, you will need a few poles cut into 3 feet sections. At your local home improvement center, you can purchase bamboo poles that are used in gardens, and to stake house plants relatively cheaply, these will work great for the pans. Using a nail, punch a hole into the pie pan, insert a string into the hole and tie a large knot at the end. Next, cut the string about 6 inches, and secure it to the bamboo pole that is in the ground. The size of your garden will determine how many you will want to use, but generally 2 work great for a 10 foot by 10 foot garden.
The last two pieces of advice that my Grandfather told me to use are pet hair and moth balls. If you have a dog, or know someone who has a dog, ask them to save the hair after they brushed their pet. Placing the dog hair around the perimeter of your garden is a great squirrel deterrent, as most squirrels fear dogs. The hair once brushed still holds the scent of the animal, and thus will deter the squirrel from entering your garden, fearing a dog is nearby. Moth balls, as you know, have a strong odor that works great when deterring any animal. The placement of the moth balls is random around the outside of the fencing. All these tips that my Grandfather shared with me, helped keep all animals out of my garden, leaving me a bountiful crop.