This a follow-up to the experiment started in autumn when I surrounded my vegetable garden with a pliable electrical fencing. The fencing, sold as raccoon fence, was installed to see of it would stop the devastation being caused by invading chaparral rats and ground squirrels. These pests climbed all other barriers and ate both seeds and plants until it was impossible to grow any edibles in the vegetable garden. The fencing was set on a timer to be electrified only after dark. (Otherwise working in the vegetable garden could become decidedly uncomfortable and the rodents were most active at night.)
For the first spring in years vegetables are sprouting from planted seed and growing. This is the first major test to see how the raccoon fencing rat experiment is working. The tender young shoots have been irresistible to rodents for years now, and this is the first time these edibles have grown unmolested. Although plants in the onion family have fared well in the past despite incursions of rats and mice, lettuce, cabbage and peas are also thriving. Even the squash seeds have been able to germinate. I have hopes that maybe the rodents are indeed being trained to avoid the electrified fencing and turning away from the inviting plants in the vegetable garden.
Although there have been nibbles on some leaves, there are no signs of the typical rodent aggressive gnawing. I believe small critters like snails or slugs are still finding their way in, but the damage so far has been minimal. I will continue monitoring the success of the raccoon fence as the season in my backyard garden progresses. So far it is looking very encouraging. (I ordered my fence at Electric fence.com.)