Monday, May 7, 2012

How to Keep Deer out of Your Garden

Ever go out to your garden and see nothing but chewed off stalks? I have! My garden loves to get ransacked by deer.

Two years ago, my dad and I tried to grow a garden in his back yard. The day after we planted the garden, we walked out back to see nothing but the stalks of our plants poking mournfully out of the dirt. It was obvious from the tracks that our nemesis was a herd of deer. We attempted to replant and fight off the deer, but despite all our efforts, nothing we tried seemed to work. The deer enjoyed our “salad bar” that year, and last year, we did not even bother to plant.

This year, however, brought with it a strong desire for me to plant a nice garden. As you read in earlier posts, we tilled up the garden and planted all kinds of good veggies. My dad kept a visual on the garden, and after much thought, he devised a foolproof way to keep out the deer.

Part of this year's garden.

Before I give away the secret to our deer-proofing, we want to help prevent you from suffering through the same mistakes we did. So, here are the ideas that failed:

  • Marigolds: No, I know these are supposed to keep rabbits out, not deer. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. ;)
  • Human hair: Have you ever heard of this? We had, and it worked too! At least until we got the first thunderstorm of the summer. After the first rain hit, whatever had not washed away was completely ineffective.
  • Irish Spring soap: I forget where we heard about this solution. Basically, we nailed bars of Irish Spring soap around the edges of the garden. It seemed to work for a while, but the rain also ruined its effectiveness, washing the bars away slowly and leaving rusty nails for us to trip on.
  • Deer Repellent: We found some different animal repellents at Lows while shopping for planting supplies. While there were a few different kinds, we picked out one by a company called Sweeney’s. The repellent came in little round canisters that you placed into the ground on little posts. They were supposed to be weather and water resistant. While they did seem to hold up in the weather and water, we confirmed that they were not deer repellent when we discovered deer tracks in the garden.

  • Deer Repellent that does not work.

So, what solution did we finally decide to invest in? A Fence!

Seriously, if you are having trouble with deer, quit trying to find the inexpensive solution and just invest in tall posts and wire fencing. The deer will move on to easier pickings, and you will be able to enjoy a year full of delicious home-grown veggies!

Me putting the last few plants in the garden.

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