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Animals, Pepper, and Organic Gardening


In my previous update on my Home Depot sponsored organic gardening series, things were not looking very good. Local animals had chewed our Swiss Chard to the bone, consumed every single pea plant, and even one tomato plant! The obvious solution was to put netting or fencing around the garden. I wasn’t thrilled with that idea, because I plant my garden primarily for my kids, and fences and nettings that keep animals out also keep kids out!

Thankfully, Cassidy heard about my dilemma, and suggested trying ground black pepper around the stems. I had some black pepper corns in a pepper grinder in the kitchen, so I started grinding a little pepper on and around the plants. I try to do this every day, but I think it’s especially important after it rains, and after the garden has been watered.

So far, it’s working! Here is my slowly-recovering Swiss Chard plant:


Our lettuce is also recovering, and the newly-planted (from organic seeds) pea plants have been left untouched:


If you look closely, you can also see three baby carrot plants that somehow wound up too close to the peas. It’s always interesting when kids help plant the garden! My seven-year-old is already anxiously asking if she can pick the carrots yet – I’ll let her pick these so she can understand why they need to grow into something worth eating!

The animal meddling has us with some catching up to do, but if this strategy continues to work as the plants grow taller we should have a decent harvest this summer! I have even started peppering the strawberry and blueberry plants, in hopes that this will allow us to eat some of those berries this summer instead of merely feeding some very happy chipmunks!


I put together a mini garden tour, so you can see what is growing so far!



How is your garden growing? Have you ever tried using pepper to keep animals away? Did it work?

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

14 thoughts on “Animals, Pepper, and Organic Gardening”

  1. Awesome photos! That is a very cute plants. For me, it is really nice if you make those plants into organic gardening. The garden is very great and looks well maintained. Maybe i should try this someday.

    1. I’ve never heard of this before. I just put up a fence this weekend but will try this with my other raised bed. We have problems with squirrels and rabbits.

  2. Oh no! Critters have stolen 2/3 of our cucumbers (we still have much more potential cucumbers that I’d love to eat). Do you think the pepper will work with full grown plants? Our green beans are doing very well. We pick them off and eat them straight from the garden (after washing with the hose). I think we’ve had 20-30 so far. We’ve also had about 10 strawberries and just had many more blossoms appear.

  3. What a great fix … black pepper! Who knew?! The critters get all my strawberries so I finally gave up after years of trying. I should have tried your black pepper trick!

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