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Doe! A Deer...

There are few greater frustrations as a gardener or flower farmer than when you do everything you can to grow beautiful flowers (or vegetables) only to have a group of deer decide your flowers look like the perfect grazing spot. Deer can absolutely decimate a garden in a few short nights, and we have had may issues with them in the past. If you experience deer problems in your garden, read on!

There are a lot of methods we have used in the past to deter them once we have an issue. But the best way to protect your garden is to prevent them from wanting to walk through it in the first place. Deer like to move around, and it's pretty common for them to walk the same trails at dusk and dawn once they've gotten comfortable in an area. That means, as pretty as they are to look at in the winter, you don't ever want them to be comfortable in your garden. This winter we had a lot of snow, and all that snow deterred the deer in our area from walking through. Now that the snow has melted (or is trying to at least), the deer are coming back, and it's the best time to remind them they aren't allowed here.

If you can, a tall fence will likely be the best deterrent around. Unfortunately, deer need a fence 7.5-8 feet tall to keep them from jumping over it. For us that's just not practical, so we have used a few less conventional methods over the years.

If you've ever driven by our garden at night, you may have heard voices. No, the garden isn't haunted, lol. We keep a radio on in the field all summer long! This might not be something you'd want to consider if you have neighbours, but where our field is located, there aren't any homes in the near vicinity. We've found that the noise from the radio does a great job at keeping deer away. Careful which station you choose though... they can get used to the sound. As much as I'd love to play classical tunes, we've found CJOB does the best job at keeping the deer away. :)

A few other things we have done in the past are setting up a string line with cans attached to it. Once the line is up the deer walk into it, it makes a noise, and they get scared and run away. We have also used motion activated cans that spray air and make a noise (originally used for our cat but just as good for the deer). Sprinkling human hair around the area also works great. How you obtain the hair... well that's always a weird conversation to have with your hair stylist. We've also found that using products on the market such as blood meal, and plant skyd also work, but their effects are more temporary (you'll have to reapply after sprinkler and rain). If you decide to use plant skyd, it smells terrible. Wear gloves!!

Strategic planting can also really help your garden. Planting things deer hate, like daffodils, lavender, sage, peonies, yarrow, lambs ear, rosemary, fox glove, astilbe, columbine, snap dragons, and zinnias near or around things they love will definitely help!

I hope this inspires some things you can do to deter the deer from snacking in your garden if you've had problems with them. We have found that if we use a combination of methods at the beginning of the season, once the plants are established, we have few deer issues.

Do you have a method we haven't tried? Let us know!

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