That time of year again: dealing with deer destruction

Say that three times fast. Dealing. With. Deer Destruction.

Now that I’ve been blogging for a few years, occasionally I’ll look at what I posted time time of year over the past few years. Two years ago, just like now, the Delicious Potager was being victimized by some deer with discerning palates. It’s just part of living in West Virginia. Everyone I know that has had a garden has at some point had to do battle with those furry, four-legged plant destroyers.

There’s not much you can do. Some people say getting a dog is a sure fire way to keep deer out of your yard. That’s not feasible for everyone. The Division of Natural Resources will issue crop damage permits for landowners to kill deer that are destroying crops. But I live in city limits, so no dice. Over the years, I’ve tried every DIY tactic, like putting soap in a pair of panty hose and hanging them around the perimeter of the garden. I’ve also tried scattering human hair around the garden. And I’ve tried stringing fishing line around the garden, so when deer walk into it, it startles them. None of these things worked.

Currently, I plant marigold around my vegetable plants. They “supposedly” repel deer because of their scent, but that hasn’t worked. They do have other benefits like repelling other pests such as nematodes, horn worms and squash beetles, as well as small animals such as rabbits.

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Look at these tomato plants! The one on the right is a West Virginia ’63 variety that already had little green tomatoes on it. All gone now. I have never grown this variety before, but I thought I would try them since this year (actually this week) is the state’s sesquicentennial. The variety was developed by West Virginia University. At least the plants are still viable–so far.

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The deer even sampled my hostas, which are supposedly “deer resistant” and ate some of the buttercups. I find it odd the deer ate buttercups because they are toxic to animals. As a matter of fact, horses and cattle are not supposed to graze in fields with buttercups, and you shouldn’t handle the plants and then touch your pets without washing your hands. I hope that deer got sick from eating those!

This deer also ate just the top part of a whole row of potato plants. Thank goodness the plants are still alive, and that’s one crop they won’t get to.

So, I’ve done some research, and I’m going to try yet another home remedy for keeping deer away: a spray made from eggs and hot peppers. I’m not setting my hopes too high because it seems like nothing works.

Here’s the recipe I’m going to use on my plants. It’s a combination of a couple different ones I found on the web.

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of water + 1 gallon
  • 4 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced hot pepper

Crack the eggs into a blender and add the two cups of water. Add the diced peppers and garlic. Blend all together until well mixed. Strain through a mesh strainer and pour into a garden sprayer and add 1 gallon of water. Place the sprayer container outside in the sun for 24 hours or so until it gets funky. Spray liberally on plants once every 2-3 weeks or when smell wears off. You can use hot sauce or red pepper flakes in place of the hot peppers.

Supposedly this will last 2-3 weeks. We’ll see.

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