I'm planning a vegetable garden this year for cost-saving and Earth-loving reasons. There's so much out there for urban gardeners now. Like a self-watering container that stores extra water so you don't have to worry about it drying out. And breeds of fruit and vegetable that will do well in containers. There are fruit trees that grow straight up and don't grow wide at all. I find that one really fascinating.
There are so many options to mull over that I am having a hard time making a decision.
One item is on the definite list, though. A sound-making device that scares away rats. DC is reclaimed swampland, after all. But DC rats are so big they might think it's disco music and start dancing. Seriously. Don't mess with DC rats. If you see them doing the hustle in your back yard, join them but don't break up the party.
General anti-rat advice that has proved to be the best is to sprinkle mothballs around. Seriously. Rats hate those things.
Rats really like tulip bulbs, apparently. And they get to them from tunneling underground. So you sprinkle pieces of mothball in the hole you dig for the bulb. Then you put in bulb food. Then you put in the bulb. Then you cover it up with dirt. It worked pretty well for me.
There are also containers that have fine mesh screens with them so no little critter can get to your food supply.