13 Ways to Keep Rats Out of Your Vegetable Garden


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But there are no additional costs to you.

Do you have a vegetable garden? Are you worried about rats eating your vegetables?

There are many reasons why you should worry about rats eating your vegetable plants.

  • First, rats carry diseases such as salmonella and E. coli.
  • Second, rats will chew holes in your plants and make them look unsightly.
  • Third, rats can cause serious damage to your home and garden.

If you want to protect your vegetables from rats, then you need to do something about it. Gardeners should try to avoid using pesticides or herbicides near the garden because these chemicals could harm the rats, the vegetables and, in turn, you and your family.

In this article, I’ll explain how to keep rats away from your vegetable garden using simple methods, traps, deterrents, and other methods.

Let’s first understand more about rats to better keep them out of the vegetable garden.

Keep Rats out of Vegetables

What Do Rats Like to Eat? Where Do Rats Live?

Rats are rodents that love to eat anything they can get their hands on. Their favorite foods include grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and meat. Gardeners should try to avoid using pesticides or herbicides near the garden because these chemicals could harm the rats.

Rats can be found in sewers, garbage cans, outdoor compost piles, and other places where they get into homes. They can climb up walls and enter buildings. They can even jump over fences. They can survive without eating for months. They are very intelligent and can learn new tricks quickly.

Rats are sneaky creatures who hide under things. They are attracted to dense plants and tall grasses. They also love to hide under things like ivies and bushes.

They stay away from open spaces, but if there is nothing else available, they’ll go into an enclosed space. They’re afraid of heights, so they avoid going up onto roofs. They like to eat plants, so they’ll try to find something to eat near gardens.

Pesticides are dangerous chemicals that can harm you and your family. There are many ways to prevent pests from harming you or your garden. You should avoid using them if possible. Instead, use natural remedies such as traps, repellents, and other methods. 

13 Methods to Keep Rats Out of the Vegetable Garden

1. Get an Outdoor Cat

Cat Guarding Garden From Rats

Yes, there’s something to be said for a little Tom and Jerry

A cat is one of the best ways to keep rats away from the garden. Cats are excellent hunters and will catch most rats. 

Cats are very smart animals. They can be trained to do many things, including hunting mice. Outdoor cats can fend for themselves too. 

Make sure they have easy access to food and water, and a place to sleep. 

2. Avoid Using Mulch

Mulch is usually used around trees, shrubs, and flower beds. It keeps weeds down and helps retain moisture. 

Mulching is great for growing plants, but it can attract rodents. Rats like to burrow through mulch and make a home, so it’s best to avoid using mulch. 

If you must use mulch, it’s best to use wood chips because it’s harder for rats to make a home under it. Wood chips are better than straw because they won’t allow rodents to burrow under them.

3. Build A Sturdy Fence

Build a Fence Around Garden

Fences are important for keeping rabbits, deer, raccoons, and other animals out of your yard. 

You don’t need a huge fence to keep rats out of the garden. Just build a sturdy fence with chicken wire. This will keep rats and other small animals out to protect your plants.

Make sure to reinforce the fence by digging trenches and stapling hardware cloth to the bottom of the fence. Rodent burrowing can be stopped by digging trenches and covering them with hardware cloth.

4. Sprinkle or Plant Mint on the Garden Perimeter

Planting mint along the perimeter of your garden will discourage rodents from coming inside. It has strong smells that repel rodents. The smell will also help ward off some insects.

Sprinkle some mint around the perimeter of your gardens to keep rats away. You can also grow mint on the border of your garden in the ground or in pots, so you can move them around if needed.

Peppermint oil is another way to keep rats away from your garden. You can dip cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them around the garden. You’ll need to replace the cotton balls every 2-3 weeks when the smell is gone. 

5. Plant Herbs on the Garden Border

Grow Herbs in Pots

Herbs like mint emit strong smells that rats don’t like. They’ll avoid areas where herbs are planted.

You can plant herbs like basil, thyme, echinacea, and garlic around the edge of your garden to keep rats away.

6. Use Solar-Powered Ultrasonic Repellers

Ultrasonic repellers work by emitting high frequency sound waves and vibrations that scare away rodents. These devices are inexpensive and effective at keeping rodents away from your garden in a humane way.

Getting a solar-powered repeller also won’t harm the environment. You’ll need several units to cover a large area. The frequency isn’t audible to humans, but it will be annoying to rodents and keep them away. 

Be sure to research the repeller’s effectiveness range if you have a large garden. Some will be effective up to a few hundred square feet, while some will work up to 5000 sq. feet. 

Last update on 2022-09-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

7. Sprinkle Instant Potatoes

Instant potatoes are an easy way to deter rodents from eating your vegetables. They work by expanding in stomachs after ingestion. Because rat and mice stomachs are small, they won’t be able to survive after ingestion. 

Be careful if you have pets though, because they can be harmed by eating the instant potatoe flakes. 

8. Use Mouse Traps

Mouse traps work by baiting the trap with food and when the mouse trips the trap, it gets trapped. The traditional trap would kill the mouse, but there are also humane options out there. 

Humane mouse traps can allow the rodent to be released without being harmed. You can use these traps for both indoor and outdoor use. 

Last update on 2022-09-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

9. Store Pet Food Properly

Mice and rats love to eat pet food and chicken feed, so make sure you store those foods properly. Don’t leave any open containers of pet food or chicken feed outside.

Make sure to seal all containers tightly to prevent the food aromas from reaching the rats. 

10. Place Onions on the Garden Borders

Onions emit a strong odor that rodents hate and will help deter them from entering your garden.

Putting an onion out every few days keeps it fresh. Don’t let your pets near the onions though, because onions can be toxic to your pets, like dogs. 

11. Harvest Vegetables Regularly

If you want to keep rats away from the garden, harvest your vegetables regularly. This will give the rodents no reason to enter your garden.

Rats and other rodents aren’t picky eaters. So, if you’re growing carrots, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, etc., just make sure to harvest them regularly. 

12. Use An Indoor Greenhouse

Grow Tomatoes in Greenhouse

An indoor greenhouse is one of the best ways to grow vegetables year round and to keep rats away from your vegetables.

A greenhouse helps protect plants from harsh weather conditions and helps keep the inside warm. This means that you can grow veggies even during winter months.

Depending on your greenhouse and the foundation it’s built under, remember that rats can also dig, so be sure to put something in place that will prevent rats from digging. 

13. Maintain a Clean Garden

Outdoor Vegetable Garden

Keeping your garden clean is another great way to keep rats away from it.

Make sure to remove weeds and debris from around your garden as they can attract pests and insects. Don’t allow any trash to accumulate around your garden. 

Keep Rats Out of Your Vegetable Garden Final Thoughts

Keeping rats away from your garden isn’t too difficult. It may take a little time and effort, but once you get used to doing this, you’ll find yourself enjoying your garden more than ever before.

The most important thing is to not panic if you see a rat in your garden. Just calmly think about the different prevention options that you have to stop rats from eating your vegetable garden.

Other articles that might interest you: 

Fast Growing Trees and Plants

Photo of author

Written by:

Denise Davis
I am an avid gardener who has spent most of her life in the garden, growing and cultivating organic veggies for friends and family. I love the earthy smell of composting and making homemade fertilizers from natural ingredients like old coffee grounds or eggshells. Gardening is a great way to get outside, learn new things about nature, exercise your body (and brain!) and eat healthy food you have grown yourself!