If I get a worthwhile harvest from my garden this year, it will be a miracle.
I am baffled by the new crime scenes I find every morning. The season started with entire pepper plants -- root ball and all -- pulled up and left on the ground. Some plants survived the replanting, thank goodness. Now, all of a sudden, the offenses have escalated to trampling and chewing and other maddening insults to my little plot of land.
My first glimpse at an empty pea pod still on the vine made me laugh that my kids were just that lazy ... but now after seeing the carnage to the rest of the patch, I know I have a perpetrator on my hands.
I present to you the shredded evidence:
And this one today, the most infuriating of all, a jalapeno pepper plant (my one and only!) broken at the stem:
In early spring when my seedlings were uprooted I suspected raccoons seeking water. (I've seen signs of their digging before.) This damage, although devastating to me, is still a bit delicate to be their calling card. And it's a little much for birds.
That leaves me to suspect squirrels. Or, as I like to call them, rats with bushy tails. They're just cute enough that my neighbor Karen likes to leave walnuts out for them, and coo and talk to them when they come close. (She doesn't know I was on the other side of the fence working in my garden!)
What do you think? Am I dealing with squirrels? Know any remedies? I thought of sprinkling cayenne pepper to deter them, but wonder if this would have an adverse affect on the tender veggies. Please help!