Protecting your greenhouse from backyard critters
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Protecting your greenhouse from backyard critters

Are you tired of finding your lovingly curated garden destroyed by pesky critters just when it's in full bloom? As much as you adore the wildlife in your backyard, their limitless love for your plants can break even the sturdiest gardener's heart. While balancing maintaining the perfect backyard ecosystem and protecting your greenhouse may seem impossible, we've got your back. This blog post will explore effective ways to guard your greenhouse against uninvited guests without sacrificing your harmonious relationship with your backyard buddies. Say goodbye to the days of dismay as you watch your hard work go to waste, and say hello to a thriving and secure gardening haven.


1. Importance of Protecting Your Greenhouse

Protecting your greenhouse is paramount for any avid gardener seeking a bountiful and healthy garden. Here's why safeguarding your greenhouse is essential:

- Environmental Control: Enclosed by glass, greenhouses provide the ideal environment for diverse plants to thrive and flourish. This controlled environment stabilizes soil and air temperature, thereby ensuring optimal growth.
- Pest and Disease Protection: Greenhouses help guard your plants against common pests and diseases such as rodents, deer, and squirrels, as well as plant infections. Moreover, enclosed spaces make identifying and eliminating any problem areas easier.
- Extended Growing Season: With a greenhouse, you can grow various crops throughout the year regardless of the outdoor weather conditions. This also allows for more efficient gardening and cross-seasonal growth opportunities.
- Reduction in Chemical Usage: Greenhouse gardening significantly reduces the need for toxic pesticides, thus promoting a more organic and environmentally friendly approach to plant care.
- Enjoy More Variety: Greenhouses give you the freedom to grow a multitude of crops, including exotic vegetables, houseplants, and seasonal produce.

In conclusion, protecting your greenhouse is vital for maintaining the ideal environment for your plants and ensuring a thriving garden that you can be proud of. 


2. Types of Critters That Can Damage Your Greenhouse

Understanding the types of critters that can damage your greenhouse is essential in protecting your plants. According to the Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment at UMass Amherst, some common greenhouse pests found in Massachusetts include white-footed mice, meadow voles, and chipmunks. These rodents feed on germinating seeds, attack young plants, and create tunnels in growing media. This can lead to food safety concerns due to possible contamination. Identifying these pests is crucial in determining the appropriate control measures to ensure a healthy and thriving greenhouse environment. [3]


3. Harmful Effects of Pesticides on Wildlife

The destructive effects of pesticides on wildlife are often underestimated, yet their impacts can be extensive and long-lasting. Various species, including bees, birds, small mammals, and aquatic organisms, face serious risks due to direct or indirect pesticide exposure. Some of the alarming consequences are:

- Cancer, endocrine disruption, and developmental changes in animals.
- Negative impact on behavioral and survival abilities; for instance, impaired singing ability in birds, making it challenging to attract mates and reproduce.
- Hormone-mimicking pesticides lead to deformities and reproductive abnormalities in amphibians, mammals, and aquatic life.

To minimize these harmful effects on wildlife and preserve biodiversity, switching to organic pest management practices and promoting sustainable agriculture is essential.[2]

4. Alternative Ways to Protect Your Plants

Aside from fencing and planting deterrent plants, there are various alternative methods to protect your plants from pesky critters. Some of these include:

• Plant Covers: Placing cages or chicken wire around vulnerable plants can prevent animals from feasting on them. Squirrel baffles are also a great option for protecting seedlings.
• Natural Repellents: A homemade hot pepper mixture can effectively deter animals from chewing on your plants. Moreover, incorporating species like marigolds in your garden can naturally repel various pests.
• Providing Alternative Food Sources: Setting up bird feeders or using milk mixture sprays can help deter deer.
• Noise Deterrents: Hanging wind chimes and playing music near your garden can also serve as a distraction for critters, especially deer.

By implementing these alternative methods, you can keep your garden safe from unwanted wildlife while maintaining a critter-friendly yard. 


5. Benefits of Building a Fish Pond next to your Greenhouse

Building a fish pond in your backyard has numerous advantages that contribute to environmental sustainability and personal well-being. Here are five benefits of installing a garden fish pond:

1. Water Conservation: By creating a pond, you can reduce your lawn area, requiring less watering. According to Clearwater Creations, ponds can be refilled with rainwater and serve as a water source for other plants in your garden.

2. Reduced Carbon Footprint: A smaller lawn means less use of gas-powered lawnmowers, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. This leads to a more eco-friendly backyard environment.

3. Wildlife Habitat: Garden fish ponds provide sanctuary and breeding grounds for local wildlife such as dragonflies, frogs, and birds. This biodiversity contributes to a healthy ecosystem.

4. Environmental Education: Involvement in the planning, building, and maintaining of a garden fish pond provides a fantastic opportunity for children and adults alike to learn about natural ecosystems and environmental responsibility.

5. Improved Mental Health: Water features like fish ponds can significantly improve psychological well-being. As mentioned in an article on the University of Exeter Medical School, spending time near water promotes physical activity, reduces stress hormones, and offers a sense of calm and connection with nature.


6. Using a Planting Tent to Keep Animals Out

A planting tent is a highly effective way to keep animals out of your garden, ensuring your plants remain safe and undamaged. You can maintain a healthy, thriving garden space by creating a barrier between your precious plants and the critters that want to devour them. Here are a few benefits of using a planting tent in your backyard:

- Planting tents, like those offered by Quictent, are made of high-quality materials that provide a strong and durable barrier against pests.
- Some planting tents feature separate mesh zipper doors on each side, enhancing ventilation and keeping critters out.
- By adjusting conditions inside the greenhouse, you can provide your plants the right temperature, humidity, and light, giving them a protected and optimal growing environment.
- Installation is typically easy, making it a convenient and user-friendly solution for gardeners. [11]


7. Designing a Wildlife-Friendly Backyard

Creating a wildlife-friendly backyard not only benefits the environment but also enhances the aesthetic appeal of your space. Utilizing the concept of a wildlife-friendly backyard from Quictent, here's how you can design your own:

- Incorporate a fish pond: Add a small pond with goldfish, rocks, and artificial flowers to make your garden more vibrant without impacting your plants.
- Avoid pesticides: Chemicals can harm both pests and beneficial wildlife. Instead, opt for integrated pest management methods.
- Create an animal-friendly zone: Allocate a corner of your backyard where critters can reside, with piles of shrubs, discarded leaves, and old furniture.
- Implement reduced maintenance: Limiting maintenance in certain areas provides natural habitats for various wildlife species to thrive.

Remember, designing a wildlife-friendly backyard may require more effort but will yield a fulfilling and harmonious environment for humans and animals. 


8. Mini Garden Bed with Greenhouse Cover

Creating a mini garden bed with a greenhouse cover is ideal for small backyards struggling with harsh weather conditions and invading critters. A greenhouse cover provides multiple benefits, including:

- The increased temperature inside the greenhouse promotes healthy plant growth.
- Protection from large animals such as birds and squirrels.
- Keeping out harmful insects that may damage plants.
- Easy access to care for plants, thanks to the zippered mesh door on each side.

Implementing a mini garden bed with a greenhouse cover, your plants will thrive in a safe environment, protected from unwanted pests and harsh weather. This innovative gardening solution promotes efficient use of space and ensures your plants receive the optimal conditions for growth. 


9. Choosing Plants That Deter Critters

When planning your greenhouse garden, a key strategy is selecting plants that naturally deter critters. Doing so can minimize the risk of damage to your more vulnerable plants while maintaining a cohesive, natural ecosystem. Here are some plants and tips to consider:

- Marigolds: Known to repel a variety of pests due to their strong scent and taste
- Ornamental grasses, holly, and barberry: Less appealing to deer compared to hostas, arborvitae, and azaleas
- Herbs like mint and lavender: Their strong aroma and taste can keep pests at bay


10. How to Protect New Plants from Animal Damage

Planting and growing your vegetables can be rewarding, but protecting them from garden pests and animals can be quite challenging. Here's how to safeguard your new plants from animal damage:

- Install a 2-3 feet tall fence to deter small mammals like rabbits. A fence at least 6-8 feet tall is necessary for deer.
- Choose less tasty plants that are highly aromatic, fuzzy, or have prickles, as they are less appealing to animals.
- Protect your new plants with trunk wraps or light net coverings to prevent grazing damage.
- Consider planting in elevated pots and raised beds to keep out critters.
- Keep the surrounding area a little wild to offer alternative food sources and shelter for animals.
- Use self-contained compost bins with lids to prevent attracting animals to your garden.
- Remove pet food bowls after feeding to avoid attracting unwanted wildlife.

By taking these preventative steps, you're ensuring the growth and success of your new plants while minimizing animal damage. 

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