And Now ... Chipmunks

In addition to the plague of squirrels in the front yard, it would seem that we have some marauding chipmunks in the back. They have been digging up sunflower seeds that I planted and even dug up the seedlings to get to the seed. We lost all but one of our first go-round of sowing, so we slapped some row covers over the seeds on the second planting:

Clearly, this is nothing special. It's some short pvc posts holding up tent of row cover fabric, which is weighed down along the sides with lengths of scrap wood. Still, it's been enough to keep out chipmunks over the last week — they are burrowing animals but can't get at these from underneath, so it's working well enough so far.

Ah, but that lone seedling that made it through the first round of chipmunk attacks was left uncovered. We thought that surely by now it was big enough to escape their attention. And today it was lying at an angle, half dug up and a little scraped along its stem:

This is it after I dug it out completely and replanted it. I'm hoping it pops back to life as it settles back in.

But now what? A little research revealed a potential organic irritant to squirrels, chipmunks, and their rodent ilk:

So in addition to row covers, the seedlings now have some ground cayenne pepper sprinkled around them. This one is probably overdone:

I am hoping that this buys us some time to let the plants grow bigger, and that eventually their stems will be too strong to be bothered by the chipmunks. I have read some opinions that say cayenne pepper shouldn't be used for squirrels because they can transfer it from their paws to their eyes and then keep scratching their eyes, perhaps injuring themselves.

I am not sympathetic.


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