Deer? What Deer? Feasting From the Garden

You may recall my tales of woe. This year’s garden has been pretty disappointing since the loss of our sweet terrier, who was apparently much better at keeping the critters away than I thought. I tried a variety of things to keep the deer and the squirrels at bay, and had modest success with some plants, but still lost a lot of produce – especially my tomatoes until….

Enter Baxter. My hero. Since we picked Baxter up from the rescue 3 weeks ago, I have watched my neglected garden spring back to life. The deer repellent research is over.  There is, quite simply, nothing as effective as a pooch in dissuading exurban deer from garden destruction.

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Know what those are? Tomatoes. Growing amidst the neglected vines and the weedy overgrowth. Growing in spite of the rain that has plagued so many gardeners this summer. Growing and turning red in the middle of the garden that was reduced to stubs. What better expression of hope could there be?

Without the deer the chard continues to thrive, the cucumber plants managed to produce a few before they got wilt (as they do every year), the pepper plants stood up and got busy, and the potato patch went wild. I pulled 15 pounds of white, gold, and red potatoes out of my little patch over the weekend, a haul equal to what we pulled up a month ago.  We are happy potato eaters. And in case you are wondering, yes, even potatoes taste better fresh from the garden.

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I was so excited about the turnaround I decided we must eat some of it right away. I knew I had to keep it simple to keep the twins in the potato eating camp, so I skimmed the fridge and the pantry and came up with a game plan.

Pan Roasted Potatoes with Chickpeas and Greens

  • olive oil for the pan
  • one onion, sliced
  • fresh potatoes (enough to feed your crew), sliced as thin as you can manage
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1 1/2 c chickpeas (soaked and cooked or if canned – drained and rinsed)
  • large bunch of greens of your choosing

Preheat oven to 375. Warm olive oil over medium heat in oven safe pan. Saute onions with a little salt to carmelize (turn brown, not black). Add potatoes to pan with a bit of salt.  Let them be so potatoes can begin to brown. When browning, stir potatoes to brown other side. Add oregano and pepper. Remove potatoes/onions from stove and place in hot oven for about 15 mins (or until fork tender – will depend on how thin they are cut). Return to stove top. Add chickpeas and stir.  Add handfuls of greens and stir.  Cook only until greens are wilted.  We had ours with a big salad and sauteed green beans.  Delish, and such an unexpected pleasure from our hardscrabble fighter of a garden with an assist from a hardscrabble smoocher of a rescue dog.

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10 responses

  1. Daisy deer seems to like every vegetable we’ve raised except yellow squash. Deer will dig both regular potatoes and sweet potatoes too! We finally put fence up to keep deer out, but even then, they can jump anything less than an 8 foot fence. Daisy won’t jump anything higher than 5 feet usually.

    Pan roasted potatoes are so yummy! I love new taters… nothing like them!

  2. I haven’t done anything to keep the deer out of our garden, and it hasn’t been too much an issue. Of course, after the Spring lettuce debacle of they ate it faster than it grew and I got exactly 3 leaves for myself, I didn’t plant leafy stuff. I have the mentality that if they eat my yummy organic veggies and herbs, they are well fed when I butcher them, and they are already seasoned :D We try to get at least tag out each year because deer is an extremely lean and healthy red meat. Plus, it’s free minus the cost of the way we “caught” it

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