How to Keep Animals Away From Your Pumpkins

how to keep animals away from your pumpkins

I don’t know about you, but while pumpkins are easy to grow, what’s not easy is keeping the critters away from them! I need help to keep animals from stealing pumpkins.

I have seen squirrels abscond with tennis-ball size pumpkins year after year. They just take them off the vine and run off with them. I guess they’re smarter than I give them credit for: I bet they wait until they’re just big enough so they can carry them off, and not too large that they can’t.

I like wildlife, and I enjoy having them visit my backyard. I wish them no harm. But fer cryin-out-loud, can I for once grow a pumpkin to maturity? Let’s research how to keep animals away from pumpkins and let my Jack-O-Lanterns to-be grow!

how to keep animals away from your pumpkins
A would-be vegetable thief, probably scoping out what to steal next.
Image, Bob Knight, flickr
There are a few ways you can try to protect your pumpkins from being stolen by animals:

Physical barriers: You can use chicken wire or a similar mesh material to create a fence or cage around your pumpkin patch. This will make it difficult for animals to get in and steal your pumpkins. Make sure the fence is at least 2 feet high and buried at least 6 inches in the ground to prevent animals from digging underneath it.

Companion planting: Planting certain herbs and flowers around your pumpkin patch can help deter animals. Marigolds, for example, have a strong scent that many animals dislike. Planting them around your pumpkins can help mask the scent of the pumpkins and make them less appealing to animals.

Scare tactics: You can also try using scare tactics to keep animals away from your pumpkins. Hanging shiny objects, such as CDs or aluminum foil, near your garden can help scare off birds. Placing a motion-activated sprinkler near your garden can also help deter animals. The sudden burst of water can startle animals and make them think twice before coming back.
Making a physical barrier has its strong points. it’s going to last and it’s probably the most effective strategy. But, it takes effort and materials to construct a barrier as described above. Also, I think you’d have to cover it over. Squirrels and birds can attack from above, you know.

No, the stand-out ideas here for me are:
1. Planting marigolds around my little pumpkin patch and letting their natural smell deter animals, and
2. Dangling old CDs around my pumpkin patch to scare critters away.
Fashioning a wire stand and stringing up a half dozen CDs is an attractive project idea.

Photo of author


After years of denying it, Donald finally admits one passion in life is gardening. More specifically: growing seeds, plants, flowers and edibles and helping them to be the best possible. Neighbors call him a Green Thumb. He lives in Western Washington with his wife of 24+ years and three cats.

Leave a Comment