vermin proof bulbs

jacqueline9CAJanuary 17, 2009

I have a problem I am hoping someone can give me advice about. I have a large window box outside of my kitchen window. It is about 10 feet off the ground, and is on the North side of a 3 story house, so it gets a little morning sun, but the rest of the day is in shade. I am in No Calif, about 5 blocks from SF Bay, in heat zone 9 - Mediterranean climate. In the past I have had great success growing impatiens or primroses there.

My problem is that for the past several years, no matter what kind of flowering plant I plant in the window box, they start out well, and then get EATEN by something within a week. Not dug up, just eaten completely away to the soil line. We have racoons, wood rats, possums, and squirrels which all climb all over our house, so it could be any of them. Also tons of birds including large crows and blue jays. Only critter I have been able to eliminate from my cast of likely suspects is deer - ours are too short. I have tried various "animal go way" sprays and hanging bags of whatever, to no avail.

It has occurred to me that there may be some bulbs that critters won't eat - I have heard that deer won't eat daffodils, and they don't seem to eat the ones I have in the garden. Does anyone have any recommendations about bulbs that critters won't eat? I am getting desperate, and thinking of taking the window box off the house because it is so depressing and frustrating!

Thanks for your help - Jackie

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calistoga_al

If I read your post correctly, your bulbs are not being eaten but the foliage from the bulb or any other plant is eaten. To me it sounds like your pest lives in the soil of your planter box and eats at night. A visit after dark with a good light should help you identify what it is. Al

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 8:48AM
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jacqueline9CA

Al - Thanks for responding! I will try sneaking up on it at night with a flashlight, but I really don't think it is something (a bug?) little enough to live in the soil of the window box - whatever it is has eaten 3 entire new impatiens plants down to the ground in one night in the past - that's a lot for bugs! Also, yesterday I replaced all of the soil. There was nothing visible in it.

I have never planted bulbs there before, just plants. Yesterday I planted some daffodil, grape hyacinth, and spanish bluebell bulbs. I am waiting to see what happens. We are having really warm (in the 70s for the past week) weather, so the bulbs may come up this month or next month. This morning one of the hyacinth bulbs was laying on the surface of the soil - seemingly uninjured, so I hope that means it didn't smell delicious, and I replanted it.

Jackie

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 3:07PM
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calistoga_al

I live in the woods and am dealing with squirrels(gray tree type)who dig in my containers,often digging up bulbs although they don't eat them, I have to replant them. Also the skunks, raccoons and opossums dig is the cultivated garden areas looking for worms and grubs. They dig up plants and bulbs in the process. It is amazing how much slugs can eat in one night. Snails travel at the measured speed of 13 feet per hour. Think how far they can travel in eight hours of darkness. I would add a little snail bait to your flower boxes. Snails walk up a house wall as good as they do up your driveway. Al

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 9:27AM
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jacqueline9CA

Al - I had not thought of slugs & snails, thank you, thank you! They do eat stuff in my garden beds. I will put out some snail bait immediately, and see if that protects the bulb leaves when they come up.

Jackie

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 1:47PM
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