protecting watermelons from PESTS

We are in Northern IL.
I planted watermelons in an area (front yard) that always had problems of similar plants being victimized by some pests. Not sure which ones. Apparently, they like eating young shoots.
How can I realiztically prevent that, thanks.
i
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u name it - i've faced about every watermelon pest out there - please be more specific as to what has ailed you in the past.
after years of trying less energy-intensive methods, i've resorted to the following:
1. 2 foot rabbit fence around the entire melon patch - this keeps out rabbits (they often trash my sweet corn too) and turtles. 2. 10 foot t-posts spaced every 10 feet around the entire melon patch with a 16 guage wire run every 8" from just above the rabbit fence to the top of the t-posts. this is sadly the only method i've tried that actually keeps the deer from trashing the melon/corn patch. in the following picture u can kind of get the idea of what i mean by this setup - i happen to be showing corn in this pic but the same principles apply to the melon patch side of the garden -
http://home.earthlink.net/~brickled/_images/garden05008.jpg
3. from planting til the plants start outgrowing the enclosure, i put little "cages" over each melon plant - this enclosure is made up of fencing commonly available at TSC - has a mesh of 2x4" - this keeps robins and other birds from "slicing" the plant's main stem. many years (maybe 1 in 3 years), for unknown reasons, birds will do this - resulting in a totally severed plant or one with many "slices" in its main stem. needless to say, this is very detrimental to the plant's chances of success.
i can take some detailed pics of my setups if requested. each year, using these plus other methods, i harvest way more melon than my family can possibly consume. we are in zone 5 and primarily plant "yellow doll" watermelon variety.

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That's good, since I also planted some corn as well.
Are there are chemical methods? Such as sprinkling cayenne pepper around?

http://home.earthlink.net/~brickled/_images/garden05008.jpg
I do not think that deer are an issue.
i
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well......i've read about many many "chemical" methods over the years. depending on what the pest is, they have varying degrees of effectivenes. sadly, even in best case senarios, u're stuck reapplying any such method every so often as well as after each rain.
the web is full of many do it yourself home mixtures that should at least get u started. for me, the wildlife has been entirely too aggressive and the only effective control has been fencing.
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Thanks. I decided to take a plunge and bought "hot pepper spray WAX", and they claim that rains do not affect it all that much. I could fence the area, but it is on the very front of our yard. Would not look as good.
i

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The *best* pest removal investment I ever made was to go down to the county animal shelter and pick up 2 kittens. It took them a few months to get up to speed, but here's the short/quick list of things we used to classify as "pests" and we now classify as "gone".
(a) Geese -- Canada. Used to have about 50 a year set up shop on our homestead. Now we have none.
(b) Mice -- gone.
(c) Chipmonks -- gone.
(d) Squirrels -- not gone, but stay away from the gardens where the cats patroll.
(e) Rabits -- not gone, but no longer like to be anywhere near the garden.
(f) Moles/shrews -- gone.
(g) Birds -- not gone, but no longer eat all of the berries/cherries and whatnot.
All of these were a serious problem for us -- like we'd only get about 10% of what we grew from the ground to the kitchen table. Now we get about 80% -- the cats saved us. The remaining 20% lossage is for things out of our control (weather, hail, bugs, and whatnot).
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Sounds great. Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats, but what you describe sounds very smart.
i
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I'm waaaaaayyyy alergic to 'em. Doesn't bother me one bit. They live outside. 'Bout once a year they get rounded up and toted in the car to the vet -- only time I have to deal with it.
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On Mon, 5 Jun 2006 15:37:54 -0400, in rec.gardens.edible "Sgt.Sausage"

I can't stand cats. They kill things for pleasure. But i love to have the neighborhood cats patrol my yard for the very reasons you give.
FACE
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On Mon, 05 Jun 2006 14:21:02 GMT, Ignoramus11409

Groundhogs love melon vines. If you get some of them, most cats aren't going to help. Groundhogs eat vines fast.
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