Friday, June 16, 2006

What's Growin' On 6/16/06: Deer Attack

This is not what a gardener wants to wake up to.

Realization Of The Day:
Okay, the Irish Spring soap thing totally does not work. Yes, that little black square right next to where my gorgeous Giant Fordhook chard used to be (click here) is a bar of Irish Spring in an old piece of stocking. I also hung two bars on the fence right next to the plot.

I'd heard about this deer deterrent trick for years but never actually tried it until two days ago. I'm now wondering if this obvious myth has been perpetuated by the makers of Irish Spring soap. I mean, I just bought 10 bars of the stuff.

More below. . .

Deer like Oriole Orange Swiss chard, too.

This is the plot next to the one in the first photo. At least they spared the volunteer basil. Click
here to see how much it and the Nero di Toscana cabbage have grown in just 10 days.

Realization #2:
Peeing along the garden fence and around the plots doesn't work either. Tried that last night, too. Yes, I am admitting this on the internet.

This is the first time in my 6 years here that deer have ventured into the garden. I have no idea what is up with the dogs--they usually hold all night bark-a-thons nearly every night and were even on an armadillo killing rampage a while back. I think I have a roll of 7-foot high mesh netting kicking around somewhere. I may have to stick some of my 7-foot bamboo stakes in the ground next to the short garden fence and string it up along them. I did that once at Windridge Farm.

Don't you just love the fact that they ate around all the weeds? Oh, and to add insult to injury, guess who I caught staring me down this morning while I was watering the garden and feeling sorry for myself (and armed with nothing but a camera)? Click on photo to enlarge.

Checking to see if I'm sowing more seeds?

Chard is pretty resilient, and the deer left the roots and a few stubby stems intact, so there's a chance the plants may grow back. At least I had a lovely chard salad last night.



  1. Hunting season countdown has officially begun!! Get ready, farmguy Joe!

  2. ooooh. that deer would be dinner...hunting season be d*mned!

    sorry the soap bars didn't work. i guess the food you were growing was just too delicious to be deterred.

    and yeah, the least they could do was clear the weeds too.

  3. It's like little Peter Cottontail only much bigger and hoofier. Darn deer!

  4. doh. Bummr. I tried the peeing and the soap too, last year. I suspect you have to have all of that stuff in place before the deer get a taste of what they want. same with the woodchucks who took down all of my zucchini (6 heirloom varieties) to stubby nubs sticking up out of the ground. Boogers.

    Orange chard! oooh! adding it to next years' list!

  5. I don't live in the country anymore to try this. But, in a recent program about keeping deer out of the garden, they suggested laying chicken wire flat on the ground around the garden. They said that the deer do not like the feel of the wire when their hoof touches it and will not cross it.
    If you have some old wire, you might try it around one of your plots.

  6. I never heard about urine to keep deer away, though I'm glad to know that I wasn't missing anything by that.

    I have heard about hair, and blood. Mulch with hair. As for the blood, I've heard three ways: (1) bury a tampon but they don't biodegrade, (2) rinse out tampons, pads or reusable pads and water with that water, (3) menstrual cup dumping around the plant.

    Since I have a menstrual cup, I use the contents to fertilize things and have had no pest problems, save slugs. Of course, that requires you to be comfortable putting blood around your plants and/or having some to put.

    Oh, and I did hear urine for deer, but it was supposed to be fox urine or something. Essentially, the urine of a "known" (to the deer) predator.

  7. My grandfather used net bags of hair round the saplings in his woods. He used to go into the hairdressers and get it. I'm loving your blogs -- came in through Blogger's picks.

  8. I've been lurking around your blogs for a few weeks, and I just want to thank you for the wonderful pictures and descriptions of what - to me - is the ideal life!

    As for the deer . . . . After three years of trying every trick in the book, I gave in this spring and put up a 7' deer fence. The last straw was August, 2005, when I woke up to discover that all of the just-planted-that-spring asparagus fronds had been eaten to the ground.

    From what I've read, deer get used to smells and sounds and eventually become inured to them, especially when a real predator - like a coyote or mountain lion - never materializes.

  9. Well at least the deer have some soap to wash with, so they will be clean for the hunters!!
    Just found your blogs, they are great. Some deterrents I have found useful in Sydney:
    a neighbours dog used to use the space behind our bookshop as a bathroom. he gave that up when I sprinkled dried chilli peppers.
    To deter the neighbourhood cats using by garden for the same purpose, I spent some money on a citrus based deterrent. When I got fed up with the cost of it, I chopped up the orange & lemon peel & threw that in the garden. It works, but not sure how deer feel about citrus fruit!

  10. I love gardening. I wish I could do more of it. Your pictures are fabulous!

  11. I'm growing fields of rosemary to hedge things with because I hear they don't like rosemary (piney/resin/?) and won't step across it. I figure several hundred Tuscan Blues and I'll be set. LOL

  12. If no one else has mentioned it, what worked best for my family's large garden in Minnesota was electric fences - you ran one strange low for the small critters like rabbits, and one high for the neighbor's cows that got loose or the wild deer. Worked like a charm for my Dad and Mom...

  13. I meant to say STRAND, not strange, when talking about low and high wires for the electric fence in my previous comment...!

  14. The deer here eat darn near everything, even some weeds. They prune my roses for me, eat the mulberries, the rhubarb leaves (which are supposed to be poisonous), pretty much anything tender. Fortunately, they haven't attacked any of my dwarf citrus trees, yet. Knock wood.

  15. Two years ago my garden was full of deer tracks. We put half bars of Irish Spring soap in netting tied to electric fence posts. The deer had eaten the tops off the sunflowers, lilies, and anything else that had a tender blossom. We put out about 12 of these. We no longer had deer in the garden. It worked for me!! and still does!

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  17. Hi Anonymous,
    Just the other day I was noticing the stack of bars of Irish Spring on a bathroom shelf and thinking I might as well give them another try in the garden, 'cause I'm never gonna use them in the shower.

    Thanks for taking the time to let me know the Irish Spring soap thing does indeed work for some people! Congratulations and happy growing! : )


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