Deer in the garden

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@#%*$%#$@&*@# DEER!!!!!!! Pardon my foul language, but you’d be cursing too, if you just went out to your garden to pick your dinner only to discover that Bambi and his crew have decimated your winter vegetable garden. Not only did they completely trample the row covers into a shredded mess of fabric, they also completely chomped down all the veggies that were nestled beneath it. See the leaf-less Swiss chard nubs in the main photo? That’s what the beets, lettuce, spinach, turnips, kale, radish, and mizuna look like, too. All my hard work is G.O.N.E. and I am mad as hell about it. 

In years past, thick row cover laid over wire hoops has served to both protect my winter veggies from cold temperatures and hide them from marauding, four-legged creatures. Though an occasional vole would find his or her way down the row of beets, taking a little nibble out of each one of them, this is the first time the deer have been smart (ballsy? bold? cunning?) enough to figure out a way to get to my winter veggie crops. I worked hard to start these crops at the appropriate time, ensuring my family could make regular harvests through much of the winter, and now all that work has been negated by what must have been one hell of a deer party. You should see all the hoof prints in the garden. Ugh.

Related post: Niki’s electric deer fencing

Yes, I can still pull the remaining beets, turnips, and radishes, but now that the weather has turned much colder, there’s no way the leaf crops will rebound and produce any new growth. I guess I’m stuck with sautéed chard stems for that “fresh greens from the garden” flavor.

To keep me from needing to conduct any future deer-related cursing, I spent the afternoon putting deer netting over absolutely every plant that still has leaves in my landscape. I covered the boxwood (which they aren’t even supposed to like), the gold-thread cypress, the Hinoki cypress, the inkberry hollies, the Japanese hollies, the azalea, the junipers, and the weeping Alaskan cedars. Heck, I even covered the prickly-as-sin bird’s nest spruce, just to be on the safe side.

Related post: Which veggies taste better after frost?

Deer netting

I placed deer netting over every single green plant in my garden in hopes of avoiding any further damage.

I know the deer are hungry. I know we humans have taken away much of their natural habitat. I know they were here before we were. I know they deserve to live here, too. I know all that stuff.

But life would be so much better if they would just eat over at the neighbor’s…


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3 Responses to Deer in the garden

  1. JessB says:

    Oh, man! You kept your language a lot cleaner than I would have! I have my garden fenced and went out today to take my row covers off for the week because the weather is supposed to be warm. My terrier was there with me, luckily, because she ended up scaring a huge rabbit out of some straw I had in there. I would have lost everything as well to the little SOB. Now, I have to figure out where it got in at. A little consolation for you is at least you’ll have some early spring growth to harvest off stuff before it starts to bolt.

  2. Deer are weird creatures. You get a list of plants in your mitts that deer supposedly won’t eat, and the deer don’t seem to realize they need to adhere to that list! Even if it’s just that deer-dainty sampling they do- they nip off a tip of fresh growth here and some soft green growth from there, and boom- your stuff won’t bloom that year. Thanks deer! Thanks.

    You can enjoy the thought of possibly sending those deer into a psychedelic spin if they decide to sample your hellebores. We’ve had great luck with these understated yet awesome winter blooming perennials.

    Greenwood Team

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