BULBS. WE LOVE THEM!
We love to hold them. Smell them. Lay them out and compare their unique and individual sizes and shapes. Plant them (get the KIDS!). And eagerly wait the winter through to see the tiny, soft fleshy green shoots crack through that cold, hard winter ground. I’m getting the willies just THINKING about it: That well deserved splash of color that lifts our spirits after every long (and very beautiful) New England winter.
AH! But as with most things of beauty, there is a threat!
But WHO? WHY? WHAT kind of monster would ever want to destroy such a poetic love story??
Yes, he is cute. Yes, he is fluffy. Yes, he’s poorly Photoshopped! And yes, he has every right to scour this earth and excavate anything he/she can to store away for the cold winter months, but… damn you, I say, leave my bulbs alone!
That being said, here are a few very simple and ORGANIC, cruelty-free tips that will help you keep these pesky little fuzz balls from digging up, chewing, spitting out and/or relocating your beloved bulbs:
Graciously apply Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon and/or Red Pepper to the inside of your dug-out holes. After bulbs have been placed and buried, sprinkle more on top of the soil, over which the bulbs have been planted. The closer the squirrels get to these strong-smelling spices, the more it will irritate their noses and will hopefully send them on the retreat.
Plant Bitter, Ill Tasting Bulbs:
Yes, it’s true! There are some bulbs that squirrels can not STAND the taste of due to their bitterness or slightly poisonous nature.
Here is a short list:
– Alliums (MY FAVORITE!)
– Winter Aconite (In Greek and Roman mythology, these early-blooming, toxic beauties were thought to be the saliva of Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guarded the Underworld and was subsequently used as a tonic to poison an enemy’s wine. But you didn’t hear that from me.)
– Crocuses (the Tommies variety, another favorite!)
If these bulbs are interspersed throughout your garden, they will act as nasty-tasting little landmines, that will hopefully send these little freaks into your neighbor’s garden. (Ahem…)
Laying Down A Chicken Wire Barrier:
For this fun little project, you will need to procure a roll of chicken wire and some irrigation staples. Plant your bulbs as you normally would at their recommended depths (deeper for larger bulbs, shallower for the tinies). After they have been covered with dirt, unroll the sheet of chicken wire and cut to the size of the newly planted patch of earth, making sure to cover the entire bulb area. At this point, secure the chicken wire into the earth using the irrigation staples (I recommend about one per every square foot), and finish by top-dressing the chicken wire with some of the beautiful LEAF MOLD MULCH you created from a few years ago (winks & hearts to you, Ned.) Wha-La!
*Here I pause. While I condone NOT the slaughter of any creature, I decided to post this as an option not only because it helps deter these fluffy-tailed friends from eating our bulbs, but more importantly because of all the added benefits Dried Blood Meal provides for soil and garden health. It adds a ton of Nitrogen (awesome) and a bit of acidity to your soil (which is also great for common New England plants, ie: Hollys, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Phlox, Thistle, etc.) Blood Meal, even within the chatter of my own brain, is controversial, but I feel that there is no better honor for a “waste product’ than for it to have the opportunity to promote new life and to be directly reconstituted back into the terra-chain!
So yes, adding some Blood Meal or Bone Meal to a patch of land into which you will be inserting bulbs is also a great deterant, as squirrels find the smell of blood to be quite nauseating. Can’t really blame them there.
Plant Some Stinky Savories:
Incorporating bulbs such as Onion, Garlic & Chives into your garden will repel them as well. Also, mmmmm… Garlic <3.
We hope this info helps you out this season (you’ve only about a week or so left- so get on it!) and that you are able to thwart these industrious, intelligent and HUNGRY little creatures. And if, come spring, you find that you’ve been outsmarted, and you find a tulip growing out of a weird crack in a maple tree, you can rest assured that you helped a cute little fuzzy family stay fed through out the winter.
As for me, unless you are that awesome little family of freaky white ones, you squrlies better leave my Alliums alone.
Thanks for reading.