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Have squirrels ruined my potager plans?

jennyfleurjennyfleur Leeds, Yorkshire Posts: 30
I’m planning on converting an area of the garden into a small potager patch, and was particularly thinking of making a feature out of small fruit trees. Having just returned from holiday though, my one espalier apple tree that was brimming with fruit has been stripped bare, save a single solitary unripe apple. I suspect squirrels, there’s a big population in the garden. Are my potager plans ruined, or are there any particular fruit that squirrels are less keen on? I won’t entertain dispatching the squirrels. 

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  • jennyfleurjennyfleur Leeds, Yorkshire Posts: 30
    Looking this morning my single apple left has also done a vanishing act, there are now none left when I thought I was going to have a bumper harvest! Having looked on the web there seems little I can do about this… so maybe I just need to be sanguine about it and grow enough fruit for all of us? Or rethink the potager idea and focus more on ornamentals, a cutting patch perhaps? Or keep the fruit tree idea but go for form and blossom over fruit, mindful that I might not get to taste any? Ideas and suggestions gratefully received.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,697
    If you've got room to have a tree that is not too dwarfed then chances are the tree will get ahead of the squirrels eventually, but it might not. If you can grow them as a standard rather than espalier it makes life a bit harder for them because they have to cross open ground to get to the tree. You theory of growing a tree that you like for flower and foliage and should you ever get some fruit it's a bonus is a sensible approach. 

    There are other things you may be able to try out at rather less cost if the tree rats eat them - soft fruit like raspberries, maybe, or leafy greens like chard.
    “There is no military solution
    Doesn't always end up as something worse”
  • jennyfleurjennyfleur Leeds, Yorkshire Posts: 30
    thank you @raisingirl - I harvested gooseberries today, so they’ve survived! I still like the idea of a potager so may go for something on that design but concentrate on cut flowers and edibles squirrels are less likely to take. Courgettes seem to be OK, and i have a purple kale they have left alone (although they ate all the cavalo nero when they were young). I had this romantic notion of fruit trees forming the backbone of the patch, but may need to rethink. I like the idea of a standard though, in a big bottomless pot in the centre of the plot. That could maybe work! 
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 1,039
    Interesting. We have squirrels and an orchard. They don't take the apples or any of the other fruits.
    Culprits for us?
    Pigeons, blackbirds and magpies.
    All our cherries (apart from the Morello) taken by blackbirds whilst they were still green. They are now attacking the young apples taking a peck at one and then another.
  • jennyfleurjennyfleur Leeds, Yorkshire Posts: 30
    That’s good that the squirrels don’t eat your fruit @bertrand-mabel, but a shame the birds do (although, at least birds are prettier!) I’ve not caught them in the act this year, but have in previous years - and have found half eaten apples left on top of the trellis! They devastated my tulip pots too. And sometimes eat the roses. I’d love to grow a wisteria but I hear they have a taste for the buds of those too… 🐿☹️
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