Daggone Bambi. Get Out Of My Patch!

IMG_9504So I thought I had her licked, and then I forgot. I completely FORGOT the first rule of varmint repelling.  NEVER assume that the one method you’ve been using will continue to work.  As much as they found that measure compelling at first, one day, one of those critters figures your crap out.  And then know what happens? Well, I’ll tell you.  As soon as that rogue deer figures out that the Ivory soap hanging all around the garden just smells bad, but won’t actually hurt them, you will come out to find that EVERY SINGLE ONE of the green tomatoes you’ve been eyeing with glee will be gone. And it won’t just be the tomatoes, it will be the branch the tomato was on.

And while she’s in there she’ll knock off a few branches of happily producing pepper plants. THEN she’ll eat some more of the strawberry plants that stopped producing a while ago, walk all through the bit you’ve been preparing for planting, rough up the cucumber plants, and step on the potatoes on her way out the other side.  Bulls in china shops got nothing on the deer.

IMG_9505 IMG_9506 IMG_9507

So, I went commercial.  I got some critter repellent to scatter that smells weird.  I sprinkled it heavily around the periphery of the garden. The soap is still out there, just in case that continues to be convincing to any of these giant pests. Tomorrow I intend to apply the age old, totally free, and at least effective for rabbits remedy.  Bigg Sis and I don’t share this information with just anybody… but seems to me that the good of the garden is a worthy cause, so I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna pee in a jar.

Yep, that’s what I said. I’m gonna pee in a jar and then pour it around the periphery of the garden. Yep, pee. And no, I’m not going to pour it on the garden itself or the veggies, so you don’t have to be icked out. I am going to find out if the trick that has ALWAYS worked for rabbits will do anything about these daggone deer. If my own supply proves inadequate, I guess I’ll have to buy some of the stuff with the gosh awful coyote pee everybody uses to protect their flowers around here… enjoying the garden, except for that heinous smell.  I’m trying not to be discouraged. I really am, but it’s hard.

A Maryland garden is empty without tomatoes and I’m on year 4 of looking like I might not get any for one reason or another. I talk it over with people who know what they’re doing, my garden guru at the garden center, I read, and my plants do great. And then SOMETHING goes wrong.  A few years ago the squirrels stole just about everything. The last two years stinkbugs did the plants in. This year things were looking pretty good, and then she came. And I’ve had to share (and by share I mean I get nothing). When I share from my garden, I like it to be because of my bounty, not because my repellent measures have become obsolete.

I will remember the first rule of critter control. I will stop assuming anything is working and just introduce new stinks every two weeks and see how that goes.  As for my long term plans, I think we’d darn well better have a dog by next sumer or I’m buying all my tomatoes at the farmers’ market. Soap, egg solids, pee… whatever, none of it works like a dog who really likes to chase deer. Miss you little buddy.

27 responses

  1. I’m so sorry. She had to pick on tomatoes, didn’t she? I think your idea of rotating stinks is a good one. After supper conversation includes, “What’s in the stink rotation tonight dear?”
    Good luck!

    • She is serious pissing me off. And if we weren’t leaving town at all this summer, I’d have a dog right now. I may have to borrow the neighbor’s pack for a couple of days.

  2. I’m sorry your deer have caused such problems. I lost more of my plants this year to our rains, but your warnings are much appreciated as I have been checking daily and have become giddy thinking I have outsmarted my deer and other animals who have previously wreaked havoc in mine.

  3. We have had to put fence around everything we didn’t want Daisy deer to eat. And, I discovered some plants that are supposed to be deer resistant, seem to be Daisy’s favorite plants to eat. Funny thing though, Daisy has never bothered a tomato on the vine. I think it’s because I plant several cherry and pear tomato varieties and we hand feed her those. She leaves the plants and the larger tomatoes alone. Just about everything you grow, deer seem to love.

    A dog will do the trick… but of course they come with their own problems!

    • Oh we’re fenced alright, just not high enough. I thought it was a deterrent, but I in retrospect, I think even our geriatric dog was the trick that kept us deer free. I was thinking of your Daisy as I was silently cursing this doe. She is SO bold – the only reason I don’t have pictures is my own lack of preparation. I should have a gallery. We’ll see, I may have to make friends, but given the number here, and the shrinking environment for them, I think I’d end up with a herd in the yard.

  4. Fishing line. I read somewhere that you can place posts/fence/stakes around your plant. Then wrap fishing line all the way around the plants at different levels on the posts. They cant see it but it freaks them out when they bump into it. I havent tried it yet, but I maybe trying it real quick. My little bit of corn looked like a herd ran thru it this morning. We had tried everything. p, hair, cologne, red pepper etc. They stay away for a while.
    Good lunck.

  5. A friend who has a garden told me to soak rags with a deer repellant called Hinder and attach it to some sticks stuck in the ground around the perimeter of your garden. It smells awful but seemed to do the trick for his yard. He resoaked them every few days or so and had great success. The coyote pellets also seem to work well. Good luck

  6. We’ve tried stinky (sweaty) tee shirts and (ahem) socks…and you’re right, they only work for a while. A friend recently recommended the pee trick, but we haven’t been able to make ourselves try it. I’ll see how your experiment goes…

    • If you find it more appealing – or less UNappealing, you can put a small amount of pee in a pitcher and add some ammonia and dish soap.. then pour around the perimeter you want to protect. Perhaps better than actually peeing near the garden? That has worked wonders for me with rabbits and ground hogs. It also helps with moles – I find the raised spot, dig in and pour the pee mixture right down the hole. Not very nice, I know.

  7. Around 11:30 every night I go out to my garden and “water” around the edges. I wait that late because all my neighbors go to bed by 11 pm and I don’t want them to see me doing it. I had immense rabbit problems earlier this year, but they are now living in the neighbor’s flowers. The deer have also stayed away. I’ve done this for the last two summers and have had tremendous success. Prior to that, I had just about given up gardening because the deer ate everything.

    • Yeah, I don’t have scientific results yet, but I’ve not seen any evidence of incursions since we’ve started applying liquid gold. Of course, that could be because there aren’t any tomatoes calling to her yet. We shall see. Glad to hear it’s worked for someone else!

  8. This was a fun post! I’ve had insects devour my tomatoes and peppers! And we have a herd of deer running around here, and I live in the city…..NYC (Staten Island!). I’d flip if one hopped the fence. I didn’t plant veggies this year, though. Visiting from Seasonal Sundays. xo

    • Thanks Barbara – was just up in your neck of the woods visiting folks in Long Island. We’ve never had the deer behave so boldly before – never thought my silly little terrier would keep them away, but I guess he did!

  9. Before we fenced 8 feet high (yes, we gave in!) we had some success with a Canadian-made repellent called Bobex. Stinks to high heaven but very effective.
    The fence works like a charm as long as we close the gate!

    • After my visit to the garden today, I’m going to have to concede tomato defeat for the summer. We have a four foot fence that we installed when the rabbits were our biggest problem. I think next year I will have to up the ante in a variety of ways, hopefully including canine patrol assistance. I too have left my gate open at times – once a bear trudged right on in… the things we do for fresh veggies. 😉

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