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Gopher hole next to a Romanesco plant. Luckily the Romanesco got out alive.

Ask Gardenerd: What don’t Squirrels, Gophers and Rabbits Eat?

A question came into Ask Gardenerd last week: “What don’t gophers, squirrels, and rabbits like, as I have no veggie luck. Renee”

Oh, Renee, I wish I could say there is a food in the garden that these creatures don’t like, but the truth is with very few exceptions they love them all. Some folks say the onion family wards away critters, but I’ve had gophers take down my leeks and onions from roots to green tips. Squirrels love my strawberries and have been known to gouge out my pumpkins just before I was about to pick them. And we all know from Peter Rabbit that those buggers eat anything leafy.

Gopher hole next to a Romanesco plant. Luckily the Romanesco got out alive.
Gopher hole next to a Romanesco plant. Luckily the Romanesco got out alive.

So what to do?

Protection is your best bet. Barriers. Physical barriers are the one thing that will keep your crops safe (aside from letting a killer cat loose in your garden, which does work, BTW). We blogged about this awhile ago, but it must be time for a refresher.


Rabbits burrow, so if you build a fence around your garden that extends underground at least 2 feet, you’ll most likely keep them out.  Here is a short blog post about keeping rabbits out with a few added tips.


These critters will take one bite out of every piece of fruit on your stonefruit trees. We find them to be very interested in our strawberry patch. What do we do? We use bird netting. It keep squirrels and rats out of the garden so we pick every strawberry for ourselves. Be sure to pin down the netting at close intervals so they don’t find a way in. We’ve got a Tip of the Week about this one.


This one, I’m sorry to say, requires trapping for the highest degree of success. We have gophers in our community garden and we have only been able to keep the population at bay through two methods: traps and cats. The feral cats that hang out on the property do the killing for us, and those gardeners who learned how to use a trap have offered their “services” to others. We also have hawk perches around the garden to attract predator birds. They work too, but not as often as gophers attack. It’s best to use a combination of all three if you can. Wildlife can help bring balance back to the garden.

Another option is to line the bottom of your garden beds with hardware cloth. Not chicken wire. They can chew through that. 1/2″ hardware cloth is the way to go. You’ll get more of your harvest for yourself with this barrier in place.

All of these things require some effort, but the payoff is big. Take the plunge and set up some barrier protection for your garden. You’ll see results for years to come.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Charla

    When we had our garden, we had trouble with small
    crttters & birds taking bites out of just about everything. But once I put down a few pans of water a short distance from the garden & refilled them when I watered the garden they left the plants alone. They are thristy too!

    1. Christy

      Exactly! Habitat is everything, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing, Charla.

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