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No deerFirst we're sacraficing roosters, now I find myself walking widdershins around the garden sprinkling a foul-smelling fluid on the ground.  I haven't resorted to witchcraft, though, in my attempts to repel the deer --- it just looks like it.

I'm convinced that the one method that will really work at keeping the deer out of our garden is a big fence
Mark has built a fence around the most troublesome spots, which take up about a quarter of the perimeter, and hopes to finish the fence project by the end of the winter.  But there's always so much work to do on the farm that the fence takes a backseat, and we need to repel the deer now.

We've tried a lot of different deer repelling tactics over the last two years, and what I've learned is that most things work for a short time, but that deer quickly get used to them.  Deer repelling, like organic gardening, is all about rotating.  Here are the techniques we've tried:

  • Leaving a radio on at night --- I think this is the least effective.  It never really seemed to work
  • Peeing around the garden --- For a few weeks, I would pee by the strawberries (my babies) and Mark would pee by the sweet potatoes (his babies.)  But we only have so much urine and it's a big garden, which may be why it never seemed to make a difference.
  • Lucy
  • Having a good dog --- this works great for a few months, but even the best dog will quickly get used to deer and stop barking at them.  Some people just get a new dog every time their old dog stops repelling the deer, but you can end up with a lot of dogs that way!
  • Shooting a gun --- this has been our most effective technique this fall.  When the deer started encroaching again a month or so ago, we took to target practicing morning and evening, which worked great for a few weeks until I saw some nibbling on my collards two nights ago.  (Yes, I have learned to shoot a handgun, and even a rifle.  Yes, I'm extremely careful.)
  • Row covers --- this works perfectly, but you need a lot of row covers to cover a couple of acres of garden.  So I only cover the most delicious crops, and everything else gets nipped.
  • Sprinkling cologne, aftershave, soap, etc. --- This is our newest technique (and what had me walking widdershins.)  It was recommended to us by a landscaper, but he says the trick is variety --- go to the dollar store and buy three different cheap kinds of scents, then use a different one every week.  Today I circled the whole garden with the foulest aftershave I've ever smelled, and I was certainly repelled.  Now we'll just have to wait and see what the deer think of it!

We finally solved the deer in the garden problem, and the solution was so elegant we gave it a new website.  Check out our deer deterrent website for free plans!

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