When it comes to contortions, gold-medal gymnasts have nothing on of a vegetable garden, berry patch or earthworm-rich flowerbed is never simple.
Normal fences won't stop an animal capable of climbing and descending trees forward and backward. Installing an electrified polytape fence, however, deters raccoons with a mild shock.
Wide, white or brightly colored polytape is a more noticeable and effective visual repellent than smooth wire. It's less likely to get knocked down by passing animals or endanger people or pets.
Cornell Cooperative Extension recommends installing a low, two-wire electrified fence. Position the wires 5 and 10 inches above the soil surface, and power the fence with a portable, solar- or battery-powered charger so it doesn't draw household current.
When electrical fencing isn't an option, consider:
- leaving a portable radio set to a talk show station turned on in a sheltered spot near the garden at night.
- installing solar-powered, pulsating predator-control lights at raccoon eye level. Space them 20 to 50 feet apart on each side of the garden, mounted to posts and facing outward. From dusk until dawn, they emit intermittent flashes of raccoon-repelling, red, light-emitting diode, or LED, light.
- placing battery-operated, motion-activated sprinklers outside the garden. One manufacturer's sprinkler sends three-second sprays of water over a 1,200-square-foot area when a raccoon or other intruder passes nearby. The animal quickly learns to avoid the area.