Growing in deer country - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 01-11-2008, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I live in a crazy area with a ton of new home construction, as well as backing to hunting land, so we have a pretty crazy deer population on our property. It's like "base" in a game of tag. They eat EVERYTHING, including plants that are considered deer resistant. We also have a few local bears and bobcats roaming around (though I've never seen them myself...thankfully).

Two seasons ago, I grew some tomatoes and herbs on my balcony so they wouldn't be destroyed. Last year, I wasn't up to the task, being due in April and giving birth in May. This year, I really want to go bigger than my balcony can handle, but I don't want to make it a wasted effort.

What are some of the best ways to keep deer away? Everyone I ask tells me to have the "boys" of the house mark their territory, but I know for a fact that that hasn't worked here! I also have dogs, cats, and curious children at home, so I probably don't have to mention that safety is key.
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#2 of 4 Old 01-13-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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My advice would be to either put up a tall enough fence or put in like a smaller plot that the deer would have trouble jumping in and out of (that might be more challenging). My dad put in really tall fences and that worked plus he has motion sensor lights where the gates are.

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#3 of 4 Old 01-14-2008, 09:15 AM
 
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My vote is to just do a bunch of Earth boxes (earthbox.com) on your balcony, safe from the deer. They can produce quite a harvest, and you won't risk having all the hard work of a traditional garden go to feeding hungry deer.

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#4 of 4 Old 01-14-2008, 10:54 PM
 
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Fence the yard or fence the garden. It has to be a tall fence, so fencing the entire yard is probably cost prohibitive. If you just fence the garden, you can do a lower fence or a fence with a roof/lid to keep the deer out.

I found a brochure just now that said the fence should be at least 8' tall, but I know I've read that they can clear 10' fences before. If the area being fenced is small enough, a 6' fence can be adequate (they don't like to jump in if they can't get enough room to jump back out). Another thing I read says that dogs in a fence (or invisible fence) can be extremely effective. Of course, they dogs have to be out there most of the time for it to be effective. The scent of my dog doesn't keep the deer out of my yard, because he is indoors 95% of the time.

I'm in the 'burbs, and we still have herds of up to a dozen deer roaming our neighborhood! A little buck worked over my fruit trees this fall, so I'm fencing everything in the spring.

Oh, and if you have mule deer where you live, the above may not be relevant. Check with your local extension office, though. They should have abundant research on what works!

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