Summer is rapidly approaching and it is time to plant our garden. I have lived in this house for years and recently for the first time, I had a problem with deer attacking my garden beds.
This year I expect them to be more of a problem. With the drought, many of their food sources are not available and they are getting desperate. Hungry deer are more willing to invade a neighborhood to find something to eat.
I live in a semi rural area and there is a stream and a large blackberry patch directly across the street from my house. Last year they ate all the flowers and buds of my wife’s roses. Fortunately, I saw them before they got to the garden and ran them out off the backyard.
We then fixed our fences and were able to keep them out of the garden. Our back yard is surrounded by a six-foot tall fence (they really should be 8 feet). So far, the deer have hesitated to jump this fence, a lot of it is solid and they can’t see what is on the other side. I think that this discourages them.
I have one 12-foot gate that is only about 5 feet tall; I will have to raise it to keep the deer from jumping it. My wife’s rose garden is still a problem. The deer love them and since they are in the front yard it is a bit of a problem to fence them.
We’ve thought of trying deer netting or fishing line fence alternatives, but we’re not huge fans of that. Deer resistant plants are also an option, but that definitely limits what we can grow and where.
Deterring deer with some sort of deer repellent seems to be the way we want to go with our flower beds and vegetable gardens. We would rather use taste deterrents over something extreme like electric fencing or wire.
I see deer repellent for sale at the nursery and on the internet, but it is can be quite expensive, some costing well over $100 for a gallon of concentrate. We have tried different homemade deer repellents that friends have suggested.
The following recipe seems to work as one of many ways to keep deer away, but you have to spray it on at no longer than two-week intervals.
- A bar of Fels Naptha soap (or Irish spring soap)
- 2 bunches of scallions, chopped up
- 2 heads of garlic, separate the cloves
- 4 eggs. Even rotten eggs are ok
- Lots of chili or habanero powder
- Fill a five gallon bucket half full with water
- Shave soap into small pieces and dissolve in the water
- Place the scallions, garlic, eggs and chili powder in a large piece of doubled cheesecloth. Tie up the ends and break the eggs. Place the pouch in the bucket of water.
- Put a tight fitting lid on the bucket and set it in the shade for about a week.
- Spray the mixture around your garden. It needs to be redone about every two weeks or after a rain.
The problem with the above recipe is that you have to do it quite often and you won’t want to do it on plants that you intent to eat. You might get a surprise when you bite a piece of lettuce covered in habanero powder.
My personal favorite option is to eat the deer, unfortunately that is not one that we can pursue.
I am sure that some of you will face the same problem. Do you have any other ideas how to deter deer that you can share?
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