What pest ruined my garden?


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So last night I went outside to see something ate one of my whole jalepeño plants and almost an entire bell pepper plant. Them this morning it came back and ate my entire eggplant, and parts of my watermelon and tomato plants. I’m really lost for what could have done this. I live in a fenced in apartment with little outdoor space, however there is a good stretch of woods behind it. The only plant I had with fruit on it was my bell pepper, but my jalepeño was completely destroyed without any peppers. They are also all relatively young plants. What do y’all think it is, and what should I do to keep it out?
 
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If it helps, I had the peppers in pots and the eggplant inside a trellis, so it had to be something nimble enough to get into them.
 

Meadowlark

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Check for deer tracks. They are crafty and can jump fences if not high enough.
 
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Being in an apartment my best guess is a cottontail rabbit. Rats would be next followed by deer. Squirrels, coons, skunks and possums like the fruit but rarely eat the plant itself.
 

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By the way, welcome and

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Trail cams work great, I use multiple cameras around my gardens.
Or put some fine grain sand on the ground in a circle and set a pot of veggies on it.


You can usually then get some footprints of what's eating your plants.
 
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Check for deer tracks. They are crafty and can jump fences if not high enough.

Thanks for the reply! I was thinking it could be a deer, but my fence is about 7 feet high, which is why I’m not sure. Either way I’ve started to sprinkle some cayenne to hopefully ward anything away.
 
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Being in an apartment my best guess is a cottontail rabbit. Rats would be next followed by deer. Squirrels, coons, skunks and possums like the fruit but rarely eat the plant itself.
Ok that would definitely make sense. Do you think cayenne pepper would be a good enough deterrent?
 
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Trail cams work great, I use multiple cameras around my gardens.
Or put some fine grain sand on the ground in a circle and set a pot of veggies on it.


You can usually then get some footprints of what's eating your plants.
Those are some good ideas, I will try to get a trail cam from home depot today. Thanks for the reply!
 
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Ok that would definitely make sense. Do you think cayenne pepper would be a good enough deterrent?
I have never had any luck with it but I have had good results when using Carolina Reapers, Ghost Peppers or Habeneros in a pepper tea. I just don't think cayenne peppers are hot enough. I have also had good luck using garlic tea. With the garlic just get 3 heads of garlic and peel all of the cloves and put it into a food processor and then put the processed garlic into a 2 liter bottle. Let it sit for a week or two and then spray it full strength on and around the plants. It seems to work on a bunch of different critters. And if you really want a decent spray mix the two.
 
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With the garlic just get 3 heads of garlic and peel all of the cloves and put it into a food processor and then put the processed garlic into a 2 liter bottle. Let it sit for a week or two and then spray it full strength on and around the plants. It seems to work on a bunch of different critters.
That sounds like a really effective repellent, it might even keep me out of that area of the garden if I used it :)
 
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That sounds like a really effective repellent, it might even keep me out of that area of the garden if I used it :)
If you think that's bad last year I started putting rotten eggs into it. I would buy a couple of dozen eggs and place them outside until they started to rot and mix these eggs into the pepper and garlic tea. It is very close to the recipe of the commercial repellents. And it works except I haven't figured out how to make it last 30 days like the commercial stuff says it does. When you make this concoction you should wait until it is windy and stay on the upwind side. After you spray it the unpleasant odor only lasts about an hour but the animals seemingly can still smell it. When I start to use it this year I am going to add a little bit of horticultural oil or neem into the mix to hopefully make it stick to the plant a little better. After thinking about this thread I will do a little experiment and dump about 6 oz of ground cayenne pepper and a little oil into a gallon of water and see how this works. I live way way out in the country and have critters of all kinds and they are a big problem as I can't afford to build a good fence.
 
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There is a big old badger visits my garden and leaves a well worn path from one side to the other. Occasionally he takes a few divots out of the grass, but I mix up a bit of 'creolight' and paraffin and dab it on the wood work surrounding my beds, the smell seems to keep him off so far. Paraffin (kerosene in US I think) does put things off, but I keep it on the woodwork. I have a book on vegetable gardening published in 1901 that recommends dipping peas in it before planting to keep mice away, I don't fancy that. They also cite other old fashioned remedies like white lead and arsenico_O
 
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There is a big old badger visits my garden and leaves a well worn path from one side to the other. Occasionally he takes a few divots out of the grass, but I mix up a bit of 'creolight' and paraffin and dab it on the wood work surrounding my beds, the smell seems to keep him off so far. Paraffin (kerosene in US I think) does put things off, but I keep it on the woodwork. I have a book on vegetable gardening published in 1901 that recommends dipping peas in it before planting to keep mice away, I don't fancy that. They also cite other old fashioned remedies like white lead and arsenico_O
Arsenic, lead, kerosene? I wonder what the average life expectancy was is those days. Are those ingredients politically correct these days? Luckily I don't have any badgers to upset my dogs. Mr Badger would probably make a meal out of them.
 
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Agreed, it is pretty horrific. They also have some good ideas, like carrots are particularly susceptible to ground living grubs , so turn the soil over several times before planting to give the birds a good chance to go through it. That is the birds that haven't succumbed to arsenic poisoning :)
 
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