Growing vegetables in your garden is one of the sustainable ways of growing food for personal consumption. It is very fulfilling and even therapeutic at times, witnessing those vegetables grow under your care. Indeed, the journey is fun – until rats start to dominate your garden and eat your beautiful vegetables.
Does Growing Vegetables Attract Rats?
To begin with, rats are indeed very attracted to vegetables in the garden – mainly because it is where they can get all their food.
They think of your veggie garden as their personal food store where all the food they need is patiently waiting for them to ‘harvest’. But they do so without the presence of any human that will potentially prevent them from infesting the garden. Alas, it is in their nature, and they cannot be re-trained to avoid your delicious veggies.
The problem with a rat infestation in the garden is they will ruin your garden and all your lovely vegetables. They do not only steal your beautiful vegetables, but they also infect your overall garden with pathogens like salmonella. Once it spreads to the other vegetables you have in the garden, it will cause severe diarrhoea and stomach cramps if you or any other human happens to consume them.
It’s genuinely alarming because you cannot notice those tiny bacteria that are already infecting your vegetables. You can only see that the veggies are contaminated once the person who ate them suffers the consequences.
Before we arrive at that unwanted situation, there are still viable ways to prevent salmonella from spreading in your garden. An example of that is to know the signs of rat infestation.
What Are The Signs Of Rat Infestation?
There are many ways to detect that rats invade your garden. They are easy to spot, especially if you only have a small garden. Knowing the signs of a rat infestation is very important to stop them early because they will surely transfer to your house after they are done in the garden, which adds more headaches.
Here are the signs to look for:
• Holes and Burrows
As you might know, rats love to dig, and if you happen to see holes and burrows about two inches wide in diameter in your garden, there is a big chance that rats have already locked their eyes on your garden. The holes and burrows are usually located near the garden but not too close as they needed an escape route to bring the food for their family.
Rats tend to create a track that they will use to keep themselves aligned and safely return to their families bringing the food. It can be pretty noticeable because these lines are about two inches wide enough for their size, and they run along the gardens’ outside edges.
• Rat Droppings
It might be tricky to notice them at first because they are small ,and they tend to blend in with the color of the soil ,but a closer look will reveal them. Rat droppings are where salmonella came from. Hence you must find them and remove them immediately before irrigating the vegetables as it will scatter the faeces, making the bacteria stick from one vegetable to the other.
Now that you know the signs of rat infestation, the next thing you have to do, if your garden does not manifest any of the symptoms, is learn how to avoid rat infestation.
How To Avoid Rat Infestation
Let’s say your garden is free from a rat infestation, and you want to keep it that way, which is a wise move. The best way to prevent rats from infesting your vegetables are enumerated below:
• Peppermint Oil
Here’s an organic way of keeping the rats out of your garden. Take cotton balls and soak them in peppermint oil; place the soaked cotton balls all over your garden, including the spot which rats could be using as a pathway.
If you do not have cotton balls, the other alternative is by spraying the peppermint oil directly onto the vegetables. But this might not work for some vegetables as continued spraying of peppermint oil can damage them. Also, peppermint oil can alter the taste of the vegetables after harvesting.
• Chemicals or Poison
This is the inorganic way of avoiding rats from setting foot in your garden. You can either spray chemicals or place poison anywhere in the garden to scare the rats. But this can be dangerous when the person forgets to use gloves when applying the chemical or poison.
• Keep It Clean
Keeping your garden clean by removing fallen fruit, branches, wood, or debris will keep the rats away from your vegetables. If rotten fruits lay on the ground, not cleared away immediately, the rats’ strong sense of smell will alert them to that ‘food’ and branches or wood will be their ladder to reach your vegetables. By simply removing them, you also decrease the chances of a rat infestation in your garden.
• Build Barriers
Another protection for your garden is by building barriers as this will make it hard for the rats to enter the garden and eat all your vegetables. So, you need to get those carpentry skills of your (or your friends) working and build for your garden the best barrier it could have. See to it that the rats cannot see other means to climb the barrier.
What Vegetables Are Likely To Attract Rats?
There’s a lot of vegetables that rats love to feast on, and if they happen to see one in your garden, they will ultimately get attracted by it. But is that a reason for you to stop planting them? No, because there are other means of keeping them away from your garden.
Nevertheless, these are the vegetables that attract rats:
However, there are also vegetables and plants that rats get uncomfortable with or that make the garden unattractive to them. Examples of these vegetables are:
5. Black Pepper
To increase your chances of avoiding rat infestation, you might plant some of the vegetables that distract rats alongside your preferred vegetables of any kind. But it does not mean these tactics are enough to keep your garden safe; they can only serve as a helping hand.
How To Get Rid Of Rats In The Garden?
If your garden is already infested with rats, you do not have to worry about it because they searching for food. It just happens that their way of getting food is different from ours. Nevertheless, they are still a problem which is why they have to be removed from your garden.
You might want to let your cat handle it for you because they are known to be rat catchers. But if you don’t have a cat in your home, consider using mouse traps like:
• Bar Trap
• Clam Snap Traps
• Hidden Kill Snap Trap
• Electric Traps
• Sticky Traps
• Live Catch Traps
You can buy them in your nearest supermarket. Be sure to eliminate the rats early to prevent more damage done by them.
This is your garden. You planned it, worked in it, worried about it, and took pleasure in it. Now, go the extra mile and protect your territory so that it can continue to bring you joy and nutrition – and not feed an army of disease-bearing enemies. Declare war!