Ever since I was little my family has always had a garden in our back yard. In California we grew everything from grapes to corn in a little plot, and now living in Ohio we continue the rewarding experience of growing edible produce on our own land. Pumpkins, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, peppers, parsley, peas, string beans, we have grown it all, very successfully I might add. However, it is never easy to reap the rewards of one’s own personal garden. Fighting the weather and praying for happy plants aside there is always one aspect that will forever haunt us in our gardening endeavors: hungry wildlife, specifically deer. Does this image terrify you as much as it does me?
If your answer is yes then keep reading.
For anyone that has ever tried to work a small plot in any area that has a deer population they know these little
bastards creatures are persistent to say the least. “Build a fence!” you may say, “that will keep them out for sure.” Well I feel the need to tell you that a fully grown white tail deer can clear a height of 12 feet. Even if you wanted to have a 12 foot fence surrounding your back yard good luck finding a neighborhood that will allow such an eyesore. “Just put some chicken wire around your produce,” you might think next, “that will stop the hoofed heathens animals in their tracks.” I hate to burst your bubble, but again I must point out some flaws in the plan. For one every time you try to tend to your garden (which should be an at least everyday occurrence) you will have to take down the wire and then put it back up once your done. It may not sound like a big deal now, but believe me it gets annoying. Secondly, if your plants grow as tall as you should hope they do, it will be very difficult to contain them within a chicken wire fence. As soon as our ungulate nemeses notice any bit of foliage sticking out you can bet your bottom it will be munched upon. So here I am, to guide you into the light that is repelling deer. If you feel the need to call me the messiah of produce please do–I will not shunt away from the responsibility.
The main way to keep your plants safe from the horrors of white tailed mastication is through the power of scent. My favorite technique that has been employed by my family for many a year is to harness the power of a very terrifying and deadly substance; Body Soap, specifically Irish spring. There is something about this simple bar of soap that makes the deer steer clear as if the plague infected the single spot of land that is your garden. Simply grate a bar of soap with a cheese grater and sprinkle amongst your leafy companions and they will be spared. Make sure to repeat every week or so.
A second thing that is wise to note is that the scent of human sends fear through the hearts of our quadruped enemies as if they were bearing witness to rise of the apocalypse. So if you have no ethical qualms to it, feel free to add a little extra hydration to your garden via the form of much needed bladder relief (take a piss near your plants). Just make sure not to overdo it, urine contains certain chemicals that may kill the very plants you are trying to save if done in excess. If you do not feel comfortable draining the main vein in your back yard you can also use hair clippings to sprinkle around the soil.
Thirdly, if you want to add more green to you garden as well as continuing your odor based deterrent there are some culinary herbs you can plant that also may help. Fragrant herbs such as thyme, mint, oregano and dill may keep the rest of your garden safe. However, if you plan on using these herbs in your home cooking might I advise not peeing on them. Pick one or the other.
Well, that about wraps it up for the Sam Ventura advice hour. I hope you find some of the above mentioned things helpful and you have as much success in gardening and repelling as my family does. If you do not find the idea of scent based, smelly warfare as amusing as I do you can find some alternative deer preventative methods here: http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/pests/2000053920004911.html. Best of luck on your next bout with wildlife!