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Controlling creatures

July 8, 2010
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere

If you are a gardener, I have a word of advice for you if you are raising sweet corn. Never, but never, pass your dog while he/she is looking up a tree and then back at you. You should probably stop long enough to stand with him or her and look into the tree as well. I am sure that having benign creatures looking into a tree will draw a crowd - it usually does at my house. This generally means that some little fuzzy creature that has a voracious appetite for sweet corn has been treed by your handsome and most smart dog while they were inspecting your sweet corn for you.

We always try our little tricks in keeping those cute and fuzzy raccoons from tearing down and devouring our precious sweet corn each and every summer. We try all sorts of crazy things but still, many times, the raccoons are out in the grove somewhere lounging about, their full tummies pointing towards the sky while they sleep off their night's handy work.

What is your remedy to keep the raccoons out of your garden? Is it a radio or motion sensors? Or how about sprays, potions or lotions? Fuel oil or old used car oil in a circle around your corn? Or, our personal favorite, the electric fence.

I think the best way to handle the sweet corn problem with raccoons is the electric fence. While for those of us out there who have some problems when tending our gardens such as backing into the electric fence while it is on (do it once and never again), it is probably the most simple way of taking care of the little creatures. A one strand fence is not enough though for the wily creatures. A strand at about 4 inches and again at 12 inches will work. We just have to remember to turn the fence off while working in the garden and remember to turn it on again when we are done in the garden. This allows a much larger safety factor for the gardener's personal safety.

There are many who will say that having a dog will ensure that you keep the raccoons, and yes, even the deer out of the garden. I'm not so sure about that. After all, how long will some dogs sit and look up a tree at a raccoon clinging to the branches while a squirrel is over yonder trying to grab the dog's attention for a good game of run and chase me.

If you have a good way to keep raccoons out of your sweet corn patch, pass it along to me.

For more information about gardening, please email me at



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