Mulch Garden Diary – squirrels in the corn

I visited the garden this morning and was pleased to see that the asparagus seeds are sprouting – nice surprise! However, not all is well in Mulch Land. I discovered that squirrels have bitten the top off some corn plants – yes, the plants. I was surprised that this happened to me, but at the same time not actually surprised that it happened at all. If you ever have the opportunity, take a chew into the stalk of a corn plant that is still fresh and growing and you may be surprised to find that it is mildly sweet, which is why the squirrels did it. Farmers who raise both cattle and corn taken fresh harvested field corn and chop up the whole stalks into silage, which is kept in silos and then fed to the cattle, who love it (and it smells wonderful!).

Anyhow, I don’t have a field of corn, just about a dozen plants, so I can’t afford the sacrifice. I had to do some hard thinking about how best to handle this since this won’t stop anytime soon. I considered creating some kind of barrier, but that is not practical. I then thought of unpleasant smells. I checked some fish emulsion and kelp emulsion I still have around, but found that they were “deodorized.” Then I found some moth crystals I still had around and sprinkled a bit near each plant – we will see if that works, otherwise I will have to resort to making a hot pepper spray from some wickedly hot chili peppers (chile pequin –, which requires some caution, and I would prefer not to do at this time.

Has anyone successfully dealt with this problem and/or have some suggestions that don’t involve shooting or trapping (too much time or trouble, and I’m disinclined to do either, anyway)? Please let me know. I’m not horribly annoyed yet, but then again I don’t want to become so.


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