By Ed Powers, Jefferson County Master Gardener
Like many of you, I have battled pests and varmints in my garden. The last 2 years my vegetable gardens have been very disappointing. The previous 7 years I had gardens that produced very little. My major villains are mice, voles, rabbits, chipmunks and ground squirrels. Many do not eat the plant but wait until the fruit is ripe and feast, including tomatoes, squash, rutabagas and beets. Of course, deer and elk eat the whole plant.
So last year I did research to try to solve the challenge of hungry varmints in my garden. I ran across a product called a solar powered rodent repeller. Several companies sell these under other names but all are solar powered varmint repellers.
It uses state-of-the-art technology and chases away many types of varmints. It generates a sonic pulse that penetrates the soil and can be heard above ground. Most rotate every 30 to 33 seconds and pulses from 2-3 seconds. They are waterproof but must be pulled before cold weather sets in.
The device is environmentally friendly as it eliminates the need for poisons and traps keeping people and pets safe. It can radiate in all directions and can be heard and felt by a number of rodents that live above ground and underground. When fully solar charged, it works at night and when cloudy. I put out four, 20 feet apart to cover not only my gardens but my flowers and trees. I also put flower pots on my deck.
The results have been amazing. The first two weeks we saw some activity but no damage to our plants. The varmints I saw seemed to be confused and ran away from our gardens.
None of our cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, rutabagas or beets show any damage and the fruit is great. Deer and elk are not affected by the pulse. I am doing research to see what I can do to change that.
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