If you have a home in the country where wildlife is an issue, then you might think that setting up a tomato garden is a lost cause. Rodents and deer will flock to the garden. You might loose every tomato to hungry squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, and deer. However, you can set up a tomato garden if you follow a few simple tips. Here is what you should do.
Raise The Bed
The first thing you want to do is build a raised garden bed. You will build a box out of wood, and fill it with soil and compost. The important choice at this step is what type of wood. Because you are planting vegetables, and not decorative flowers, you should stay away from pressure treated wood. This type of wood has been treated with chemicals. It is perfect for many uses (walkways near water, outdoor decks, etc…) but not this application. The chemicals can leach into the soil, and therefore into the tomatoes.
Choose either cedar or juniper. These are both moisture resistant woods. If you can’t find either of these woods, you can build a raised bed using stone or rock. However, it’s important that there be no spaces in between the stones. Rather than use random fieldstones, which won’t fit together nicely, choose building blocks from a local home improvement store. These blocks will fit nicely without gaps through which small animals might tunnel in.
The ideal height should be at least one foot. You want your plants to be able to root in the garden bed, and not need to reach down into the ground soil. The raised bed is going to stop the small ground rodents from reaching the tomatoes.
Fill It In
Once the box has been secured, you will want to fill it in. Get a load of topsoil and compost delivered. The compost is rich with organic nutrients that will help the tomatoes grow. Because you’re growing tomatoes, make sure to not only fill your garden bed with soil. The compost is a vital part of a healthy vegetable garden, so don’t leave it out.
Another benefit to the raised bed is that you don’t have to deal with native soil. So, if you live in an area that has rocky, clay like soil, this is yet another reason to go with a raised bed.
Fence It In
This next step is done to keep out the larger pests, such as rabbits, deer and raccoon’s. You will attach 6 posts to the garden bed; one at each corner and two where the door will be. You can use metal poles, or cedar posts. Pick up garden gate frame from your home improvement store and attach it to the two doorposts.
Next, you should get either chicken wire or a specially designed fencing material from your home improvement store. Attach the chicken wire to the fence using nails or construction grade staples.
Mask The Smell
Now that you’ve built the bed and fenced it in, there is one last defensive step you can take. Plant lavender and sage in the bed alongside the tomatoes. The smell of these herbs are unpleasant to deer and they will avoid it. Contact a business, such as Commodities Unlimited Inc, for more information.