Deer Proofing

Well, short of a 8′ fence surrounding Big Garden, the word “proofing” may be a misnomer.

Deer Provoking would likely be more accurate.

In the early years, I really had little problem with them. We’d see them in the yard, but they seemed unaware of my garden. Then, a couple of things happened that I attribute to changing my anonymous status:

  • We had a bad drought year and the thirsty critters discovered my tiger lilies near the pool and my hosta around the deck. I’d never seen deer this close to the house unless they were crossing the yard so their search parties must have been conducted at night
  • A new development went in across the street and some of their natural habitat was altered. It had always been my belief that there was so much for them to eat outside of my garden that they didn’t bother
  • I started growing okra and once they discovered those plants, they were hooked; young okra leaves must be deer crack

Over the years, I have tried a few things including sending my young boys out to take care of business (garden is too big around unless I fill then with a gallon of water a few hours ahead), hanging Irish Spring bars strategically (the soap went missing a week or so later and I actually thought the deer had eaten it in defiance before I found it nestled under melon leaves). I’ve tried a few different sprays and one did work fairly well. If you go this route, look for one that does NOT need to be reapplied after it rains.

Can’t remember the original source, but I have read that deer don’t like chives. One site suggests it is the smell – perhaps I should trim them when the okra are young so that garlicy-onion scent is pungent?

As the central diamond bed that has chives edging it has either needed to be divided or has offered volunteers, I have been edging the sides of the whole garden with chives. This year, I had enough to finish the right side and could get to the back if I did divide the original bed.

Of course, Donny scoffs at this and wants to grow his Better Boy tomato in an old 5 gallon bucket inside the pool fence. Now doesn’t that just sound attractive next to the Proven Winners and palms that I just paid good money for?

I did see a 42″ tall fencing kit with 16 poles and thought about ordering it, but it is really too short to deer proof, but $70 for a deterent isn’t too bad. I mentioned this to Donny who again laughed. He has other ideas, and being he is MacGyver reinvented, they may work.

So, aside from the chives, having a pool party of teen-aged boys, and the spray that worked well until last year, we are going to try a fishing line fence.

The theory of this is that the deer won’t see it but if they bump into several strands looping the garden at various heights they may move on.

My research says to try several systems and to switch them up. Saw a suggestion to make a tin can wind chime and that sounds fun. Didn’t find any on Pinterest so I’ll have to design my own – maybe spray paint the cans too?

I’ll let you know.

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