I am not sure that the words 'raccoon and inspired' go together but this is a true story which just happened. I have recently wished to enlarge our home vegetable garden as I am now growing potatoes and butternut squash and would like to add more crops like onions, lettuce and radish. Here's the story and what happened with our visiting nocturnal raccoons:
Our Regular Family Raccoon Visits
During the past decade plus we have lived in our home we have been frequently visited by families of raccoons. They have never really been interested in our vegetable garden or yards but like to travel through our property as both our neighbors have dogs perhaps? But the last few weeks we have been inundated with nightly visits due to an abundance of Chafer beetles in our back yard - the lawn only, not the organic vegetable gardens. What a mess they make!
Continuous overnight Chafer beetle damage.
This is about a third of the areas dug up by raccoons
Organic Control of Chafer Beetle
In the past we have used nematodes with success in the front lawn. Besides building three new raised bed vegetable gardens this winter we will look into growing clover or a Chafer Beetle resistant lawn blend. Unfortunately, whatever organic method of control we decide it will be initially intensive. Hence new veggie gardens and perhaps even "wildflowers" in the back yard. The main area turned over by the raccoons is mostly in the sunny areas. Check out a local supplier where you live for information and suggestions eg West Coast Seeds
Chafer Beetle Battle
There are ways to rid beetles from yards but my choice was to ignore them in the Fall and look to an organic control next Spring / Summer with nematodes. After raking over the grass once or twice, and stamping it down the raccoons returned again to enjoy our abundant evening smorgasbord. The raking, etc was a lot of work and the raccoons had basically cleared a great area. So I decided to use the dug up grass as bases for the new veggie gardens. The areas they were foraging in were perfect for a new 8 x 4 foot bed, plus a 4' extension on another raised bed garden, and also a new Butternut Squash garden.
New Butternut squash very successfully growing in compost will become a permanent garden next year. Most of this area was dug up by raccoons after harvest.
This is a short, fun article which I am most happy with inasmuch as I didn't wish to do a lot of extra work but it only took me and hour or so to rake in piles of grass with dirt, where needed. Now, unfortunately, the sunny parts of the "upper" level garden are all used. Interesting the raccoons (so far) have not dug in the shady parts of the lawn and wonder if there are many chaffer beetles there. The raccoons do a great job of getting rid of the beetles. In a very large area I only found three chafers. Suggestion: Extend your veggie garden so you will have more space to grow your favourite vegetables and fruits.
Happy gardening. Enjoy! ~ Liz
PS : If you choose to treat your lawn with nematodes the best time is in July in our area. Check with your local nursery.