I’m trying to address the problem of deer in the garden in a constructive manner and not just rant. Our in town garden, mostly of edibles, is favorite target of the rising deer population. Because it is rather large and spread out the cost of fencing is prohibitive. So what do we do?
Two days ago, it was dry and I sprayed a sticky blood based product all around, especially the areas where I know deer walk. Roses and pansies that the deer browse have been sprayed. It doesn’t look very attractive but should keep them from being browsed. The straw bale garden now is caged with wire fencing and covered with bird mesh. This too was sprayed as there will be nothing harvested from eaten down bales for a few months. Our raised beds are covered with bird netting which is nearly invisible and the best thing I’ve found for protecting areas. It needs to kept quite loose but fastened in place. If it is taut the deer will start ripping away at it, when loose they apparently don’t like it slipping under their hooves and are afraid of getting tangled into it. I used this at a public garden planting we maintain and planted a twenty foot circle of salad greens this summer. It took two overlapping packages of bird netting pegged in place with small bamboo stakes. This is the first year we’ve successfully protected this area.
I know there are recipes for eggs and pepper spray, bloodmeal, and other potions but in a wet climate like Oregon they tend to wash away. Perennial herbs, with their strong aromas aren’t much bothered. Our herb garden which include various edibles was heavily damaged. We had prepared it for a photo shoot and they ate down some plants enough that we had to replace them on short notice. An evening ritual became surrounding this area with a large circle of wire. Since a newly planted fig was just defoliated last night it will get the wire circle treatment and such damage this time of year won’t really harm it. I’m tired of the deer and wish they would go away. I certainly don’t feel one with nature when they go traipsing down our street at high noon.