Would you eat this?

powermuffinSeptember 8, 2012

Hello. We finally have a great crop of butternut squash - assuming the damn squirrels don't ruin them all. They have managed to get in our fenced garden and some of the squash have claw marks. Squirrels must not like the squash though because usually I find only one claw mark on the mature squash. Is it safe to eat the squash after having cut out the area of the claw mark?

Have any ideas on how to keep this from happening?

Thanks,

Diane

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david52_gw

Squash - and other vegetables - will develop some sort of 'scar' tissue that protects the wound from bacterial infection - as you say, cut out that part, and they'd be just fine.

As for protecting them, squirrels really don't like capsicum. You might try sprinkling cayenne pepper around the squash bed - hoping it won't rain.

I get deer that try to nibble my squash. Great big teeth marks......

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 11:23AM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

I understand your caution, but I would think it would be ok if, as you say, you cut off the part that was clawed. Unless maybe it's deep into the flesh of the vege. I too would not want to throw it out, if you've experienced less of a harvest in general as we have this year!

I had my first pumpkin gnawed on by a squirrel several weeks ago - I was only planning on using these pumpkins for decoration, but it still was upsetting. So I googled how to prevent squirrels in the garden. I found a couple of sites that mention squirrels have sensitive noses, so coating the vege with a mix of hot pepper sauce (for the smell and taste) and vaseline (so it will stick for awhile) will deter them. But what I used instead, as I didn't have any straight vaseline around the house, was Vick's vaporub with the hot pepper sauce - figured that would give their noses two blasts of stinky!! I mix a little up in a small container and then use a paint brush to coat all around the fruit.

For good measure, I also stuck some Irish Spring soap on skewers and place them around the garden as well - have heard that works for deer (which we don't have) and sometimes rabbits (which we do, but only saw one in the garden once and I quickly went around the fence and plugged up a few holes where it most likely got through). Thought the smell might deter the squirrels as well, so between the two methods, hopefully one would help.

Well, these tricks seems to have worked!! Have not seen any fruit chewed or clawed on since!

Marj

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 11:29AM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

One more thing I should add - I have not tested if the coating affects the taste as the only cantalope so far that ripen got eaten by ants (not sure if it split on it's own or if possibly a squirrel did gnaw on it before I started the coating), and the squash is not ripe yet. I doubt that it will though as I'm only doing a light coating.

Marj

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 11:36AM
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david52_gw

Re that Irish Spring soap for the deer thing..... I tried that when we first moved here, pre-deer fence, it didn't work. Bought a couple of mega-packs of the stuff and spread the bars all around.

It took a good decade for the soap bars to finally disappear.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 12:09PM
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