Mari Mari, Quite Contrary

May 26th, 2011 | Posted by Alison Spath in Healthy Habits

About a month ago, I’d finally had it with the remaining black walnuts in my attic. I couldn’t take the guilt I felt from hoarding these practically uncrackable nuts, robbing the poor squirrels of their winter sustenance. I could hear the nuts up there through the floor boards at night – directly over our bedroom no less – thumping. The Tell-Tale Nuts.

Feeling completely defeated and annoyed at all the work involved in getting these dang nuts open, I decided that it made the most sense to give what remained of my stash back to the expert nut crackers.

Free to a Good Home

Because our squirrels can read, of course.

I set that bowl out in the morning, Trick or Treat style. By the time we returned home that afternoon, all but one nut had been snatched.


Never mind.

Squirrel Trick or Treat

I thought I had redeemed myself. A nice little deed for my furry little friends and a great way to relieve my guilt from depriving all the resident squirrels of their winter’s storage of black walnuts.

Here you go squirrellies. Better late than never, right?

No. Of course not “right”. My unequivocal generosity apparently screwed up the squirrel biological clock within a one block radius of our house. For days after Squirrel Halloween (in April) I watched in nutty horror as the entire squirrel community buried ALL of my foraged nuts in the back yard. That whole bowlful of nuts – buried in my .000052 acre of a city lot.

Squirrels. Burying nuts like they do in the fall. Except in the spring. Awesome.

(Maybe they bury food all year round? What do I know! I am no squirrel expert. Obviously.)

And where was their favorite place of all to bury these re-gifted nuts?

Why the soft, oh-so-easily-dig-able soil of the yet-to-be-planted vegetable beds, that’s where!

Not Such a Good Idea Afterall

OK Squirrels, so you bury your late-for-fall nuts in my ready-for-spring beds?

Fine. I deserve it.

Then you come back to dig them up just in time for my greens to be sprouting, disrupting these wee babiest of baby greens in their most fragile state?

Fine. I deserve that too.

Dig and drop them into the new strawberry bed as well?

Fine. Fine.

But to spot you nibbling on the wee babiest of baby strawberries after retrieving the 175th nut from the ground this morning?

Must Protect

No, Squirrel – that’s it. You’ve crossed the line. These Smoothies of Tomorrow are simply too cute to be messed with.

Baby Strawberry

So I got to thinking.  And then I got to remembering. We’ve planted marigolds around the beds in the past for critter control. My friend google confirmed for me that yes, marigolds can help keep squirrels out of gardens because squirrels don’t like the way they smell.

So off we went to fetch some stinky orange flowers this afternoon, to finally arrive at the point of this post.

Stinky Marigolds

(Ready for it?)

Planting marigolds in and around your beds can be one way to keep squirrels (and possibly other critters) out of your organic garden.

Mari Mari

And so a border of yellow flowers went up around the strawberry bed today.

All Dressed in Yellow

Will it work? We shall see. Got any other ideas? Please tell me.

A couple more signs were made today too – just in case.

Squirrel Signs

Because our squirrels can read, of course.

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12 Responses

  • sarah says:

    awwwwwwwesome! hah hah hah! that’ll show ’em. I am a little bummed that the walnuts didn’t work out for the humans, though.

  • rawkinmom says:

    lololololol….what a cute post!!!! I LOVE IT!!! Hilarious!!

  • jen says:

    did you homeschool the squirrels? Of course they can read!

    I am dying laughing over here. But it’s okay because squirrels planted nuts in my deck planter garden too.

  • Cindy says:

    oh my GOSH you put a big fat smile on my face!

    you and your signs!

    I planted marigolds this year. Maybe it’s why caterpillars haven’t destroyed my tomatoes yet.


    maybe I need a few signs, you know

    for good measure!


  • Too bad the walnuts were so much work. Loved this post, though. Great picture of the squirrel on the bowl! I didn’t know about the marigolds keeping critters away, hope they work. :)

  • Libby says:

    Too funny – I can always count on your posts to make me smile. LOVED the signs in the garden :-).

  • Jane/you-know-who says:

    Such a clever, funny woman…keep up the good work

  • MaryBe says:

    Aww that’s too bad, after all that work! Well the squirrels were happy anyway.
    Love your baby strawberries – are the marigolds working?

  • Shane says:

    Please tell me… Did this marigold trick work? I have what seems to be an army of squirrels invading my fruits this year. They picked on my wee baby watrermelon and left it to rot in the alley, along with a bushel of grapes that never had a chance. I have got one strawberry, and one tomato all year… Now that you had the enire season to test the theory of the marigold repellant. How does it work?

    • Hi Shane, sadly, no, the marigolds did not keep the squirrels out. This year we built a small chicken wire enclosure to put over the strawberry bed… it let the rain and sunshine in and successfully kept the squirrels out!

      (you can find the conclusion to my squirrel tale from last year here: )

      When I was reading up about squirrels, I came to learn that squirrels are looking for water when they bite into foods from your garden, so putting water (and food, like corn) out for them might keep them away from your home grown produce! I never tried this though, I only read about it.

      Good luck!