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Posts Tagged ‘deer eating plants’

Pickles are a staple in our house, and there is almost always at least one jar in the fridge. Last summer I was looking for a more natural way to kill weeds popping up in between the cracks in the sidewalk/paths around our house and stumbled upon an article that said pickle juice would work, so I gave it a shot. (more…)

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It only took four days. That’s how long the deer “waited” before feasting on our newly planted vegetables. We planted the majority of our garden this past Sunday and after a couple days, everything seemed fine.

From bottom left: Tomato, spinach and zucchini all eaten by deer.

From bottom left: Tomato, spinach and zucchini all eaten by deer.

There was a little bit of a pepper leaf torn off, but not a big deal. Then, checking our garden this afternoon, we saw the full brunt of the damage, along with a few hoof prints left behind in the soil.

Our spinach was sheared to stems and the cherry/grape tomato plants were chewed to nubs. The deer also did a number on our pea and ate all but a couple leaves from both our zucchini plants. Oddly enough, they left the yellow squash alone. I also think it is a bit strange that for two months they never nibbled on the growing spinach, peas or lettuce and somehow decided this was the opportune moment.

So now we’re in full defense mode against these beasts, which, under any other circumstance, I don’t mind having around our house.

Mixed together with water, this helps deter deer.

Mixed together with water, this helps deter deer.

Here’s the plan:

Garlic and cayenne pepper. I tried this toward the end of last year and it seemed to work. I mix the powdered versions (what you buy in the spice aisle at the grocery store) with water and spray generously around and on the plants. I might even add egg or milk to the mix to help it stick to the leaves.

Mint. We’ll move our mint pot to the area we want to protect. Apparently the strong smell is not so pleasing to the deer.

Marigolds. It’s the same idea as above. The strong smell is supposed to keep the deer away. Probably buy several of these to put near each raised bed. Other plants could help and we might try those too.

We’ve bought two replacement zucchini and transplanted the others to pots and will do the same for the tomatoes. Last year the deer damaged tomato plants recovered a bit and actually produced some. The only positive to this situation is that the deer ate everything early. If it must happen, I’d rather it be now than when the plants are well established.

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Well, we’ve successfully beat the squash vine borer and our yellow squash actually has fruit on it!!!! The jalapenos are indestructible (despite everything else around it floundering) and a few more eggplants are growing.

That’s about the only good thing happening in our garden right now. Tomato plants are barely producing (harvests are few and far between), our cucumbers were thriving until I found a spotted cucumber beetle (too late to save the plants), the green beans have a form of bacterial blight and one row completely died, and the deer are back (and chewed all the leaves off our Brussels sprouts).

Meanwhile, we visited my parents last weekend and they let us take a huge bowl full of grape tomatoes, and like last year, everything is doing well for them. =/

Because it’s been such a problem year, we’re just letting it go and planning ahead for next year. Our plan is to replace the majority of the soil in all the beds to get rid of any pests or diseases lurking in the ground. We’re also going to add a hefty amount of compost and leaves and other nutrients to the soil. Finally, we’re going to rip out the weed barrier we put in the first year and till the ground underneath so the plants can grow deep in the soil.

We might add another section of our square frames to make it even deeper. I thought we were on the right track this year, but apparently not. Matt’s about ready to give up. But I see this as a challenge and we will have a successful garden (that’s my new mantra). It just may take us a few years to get there.

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There’s nothing better than a fresh tomato picked right from the garden. I think the wonderful taste can convert even the staunchest of tomato-haters.

Case in point: Matt never liked tomatoes (he’d eat every kind of tomato product – salsa, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, etc. – but never the actual fruit), but after I made him repeatedly try tomatoes for a couple years, he’s starting to come around. Now he occasionally asks for tomato on sandwiches or salads.

Deer sheared off the tops of our tomato plants.

I’m not sure he’d eat a whole tomato himself so we plant these mostly for me–just give me a salt shaker and I can easily eat a few raw tomatoes.

This year, like the past two growing seasons, we planted two slicing varieties, two Roma and two grape tomato plants. We were happily watching our plants get established until one day I noticed something went wrong.

Three of the plants (both grape tomatoes and the early girl slicing variety) had stumps for stalks. It didn’t take long to figure out the deer chewed off the top part of the plant. Fearing they wouldn’t recover, we transplanted those into pots and replanted a few as replacements.

Now everything seems to be thriving, which is a good thing. I’d be thrilled with tons of tomatoes and can’t wait to see the first signs of the tomatoes turning red!

Grape tomato plant recovered after deer chewed off the tops.

Blossoms!

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