Post #G30: I rescind Post #G28. Squirrels aren’t as smart as rats.

Posted on October 4, 2020

The white objects above are pumpkins, wrapped in a couple of layers of very thin floating row cover.

Back in Post #G28, I talked about using hot sauce to keep the squirrels from gnawing on my pumpkins.  This was after considerable and increasing damage to my pumpkins as we moved from summer to fall.

The hot sauce greatly reduced, but did not fully eliminate, the damage.  That’s because hot sauce washes off in the rain.  Squirrels were continuing to get to the pumpkins in the interval between the onset of rain and the time I could re-apply the hot sauce.

After considering my options, I decided to try covering the pumpkins in floating row cover.  I read that in some garden chat, and didn’t really think it would work.  But as I own a more-than-lifetime supply of floating row cover, I figured it was worth a try, and cost me nothing (except maybe a few more bites out of the pumpkins).

So far, it works perfectly.  Apparently, the squirrels have forgotten where the pumpkins were.  Or forgotten the existence of pumpkins.  Or maybe the white cloth makes them look like non-food.

I don’t know why this works.  All I care is that it works.  And, it works.  I’m now into my fourth day, and those pumpkins covered in floating row cover remain undisturbed.  Had I not seen this with my own eyes, I don’t think I would have believed it.

As a gardener, you get so used to animals and other pests being so crafty, so hard to stop, and so persistent, that you lose sight of the fact that some of them aren’t very smart.  And so here’s one instance where a simple bit of cheap camouflage seems to be enough to confuse the predator so it leaves the crop alone.