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bingeing in the garden -and it's not me!

For years I have been in the habit of growing fresh herbs in pots or windowboxes of my apartments to spice up my meals. However, I recently moved and have a new problem!

Over the weekend, something decimated my parsley, a garlic, and a basil plant. It wasn't insects; the leaves were all pulled off and strewn around, leaving stems only! The only animals that I have ever seen on my balcony are house sparrows and starlings, although I did see a blue jay nearby as well. Anyway, I'm forced to think birds are doing this, although I've never heard of birds going after herbs and I've certainly lived close to all three species before!

Has anyone else had this problem? And how do you keep the birds off your herbs, if so? I think if I spray them with something bitter then I won't like them any more than the birds will!

Mon. Apr 10, 8:39am

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My family's garden used to suffer similar attacks except we saw the troublemakers a few times. In our case, it was squirrels and skunks. They dig up the roots and eat them (they seem to really like some bulbs too), leaving the top half of the plant untouched.

Are there any cute but well-fed-looking squirrels in your neighbourhood?


Monday, April 10, 2006, 8:57 AM

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If you are going to eat the plants, then I wouldn't spray them with anything.

I had problems with bunnies, deer, cats & squirrels (although Mine wasn't on a balcony).

There are some plants that seem to inhibit the behavior:

Bok choy (bittter, so they don't eat it!), Marigolds, Thyme are supposed to help keep the critters at bay as well... Maybe you could try some of those?

Monday, April 10, 2006, 9:03 AM

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Oh, and wood chucks are also nasty.... Depends upon where your planters are located-- on ground level? or above?

Monday, April 10, 2006, 9:04 AM

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I planted a row of marigolds around my garden to keep those darn rabbits away, and then they proceeded to eat all of them. (I watched them do it) AAARRRGGHHHH!!!! Hope you find the culprit, soon.

Monday, April 10, 2006, 10:11 AM

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OP here:

This is an apartment balcony, not accessable to mammals as far as I know! Plus, mammals usually EAT the leaves -- whatever did this just pulled them off. I'm sure it's a bird, but I can't imagine what it is DOING.

Monday, April 10, 2006, 10:30 AM

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maybe trying to spruce up a nest?

Monday, April 10, 2006, 1:29 PM

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That's true,
it could be a bird nesting.

Are there any cats around there? maybe they are getting into the pots? Some kind of critters were litterally pulling my plants out of the garden (roots and all!) I think it was the ferrell cats in my area who must have smelled something in the fertilizer to make them dig them up!

Monday, April 10, 2006, 1:36 PM

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