How to Protect Ripening Melons From Animals

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Growing your own melons in your home garden is a fun activity with delicious rewards. But squirrels, rodents, birds and other animals will be eager to feast on your melons when they're young and under ripe. If you want to save all of those melons for yourself, you'll need to give them extra protection during their developmental stages.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic milk crates
  • Croquet wickets
  • Ripening melons

Watch over your garden daily to make sure you catch your growing melons at the earliest stage of development. When budding melons are approximately the size of a golf ball or slightly larger, they're ready to be protected from animals.

Place a plastic milk crate upside-down over each small, ripening melon. If necessary, adjust the crate so that the melon inside will still get lots of sunlight through the holes.

Push a croquet wicket into the ground with one wicket leg inside of a plastic milk crate and the other leg outside of the crate. This will pin the crate to the ground. Use two wickets per crate, and put the wickets on opposite sides of each crate.

Keep watch over your melons to ensure that the milk crates are allowing adequate sunlight through. When a melon has grown to approximately 75% of its expected adult size, remove the milk crate entirely. Animals are less likely to eat mature or nearly mature melons.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not have croquet wickets, you can use just about any type of wire hook that you can drive into the soil. You can also make your own fasteners out of scrap metal wire that is heavy but bendable.
  • You can also keep the crates in place by placing a brick or heavy rock on top of each one, but the downside of this approach is that you will block out some of the sun.
  • Some of the more ambitious animals may be able to burrow under the sides of your crates to get at your ripening melons.

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