Keeping the deer out of the garden – and people too!

Several weeks ago, we noticed that despite our efforts up til that point (ie. a four foot fence), that deer were still gaining access to one of our gardens. They were unfortunately helping themselves to the green leaves of our beets which ended up making the yield lower. When they tired of beets, they moved on to the sweet potato greens next.

Frustrated, having spent hard earned resources on the now impotent fence, I looked for other options. Do a google search and you’ll find some pretty strange solutions from CD’s to human hair, etc. I had recently been given some deer and rabbit repellent in a small spray bottle but there was no way that would cover the entire garden area. Further, we didn’t know if we really wanted to spray that stuff on something we were going to eat. After some research, we discovered that the Deer and Rabbit repellent version of Liquid Fence was just natural ingredients like eggs, garlic, pepper, etc. More on that in a second.

Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent

Earlier in the summer, we ventured into using Fish Emulsion as a natural, organic fertilizer. This was the recommended product of the producers of much of our seed stocl. It’s good stuff as fertilizer, but boy does it stink! See where we’re going with this? ;-)

Alaska Fish Emulsion

So because we apply the fish emulsion every other week or so, we decided to add some of the liquid fence into the mix and put it all in a sprayer to make it easier to mist the leaves of the plants that the deer were becoming fond of, and also side dress the other crops. The combination of these two ingredients would likely raise the dead to lifeĀ  it’s that potent! If you value your neighborly relationships – use wisely! We found that after letting it sit in the sprayer for two weeks, it’s even MORE potent. We hope we’ve not ruined hunting season for our area hunters by sending all the deer away.

The benefits of this are two fold 1) critter repellent and 2) fertilization. Adding the two together assures that we keep the smelly stuff coming as often as the fertilizer and provides compelling reasons to go out every two weeks to do both. Drop the ball on the fertilizing, and you not only make the plants suffer, but weaken their defenses against critters. It’s proven to be a valuable symbiotic relationships thus far.

As a side note – we also picked up some bath soap from a surplus-sort of store for $.40/bar or so. We cut these in half, drilled holes in them, then hung them on every fence post. The combination of these two things has given our garden a welcome break from deer, rabbits, even children ;-). If they continue to work so well, we may try going fenceless next year!

If you’ve got your own recipe for some world-class anti-critter stink, post it in the comments so we can try it!

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5 responses to “Keeping the deer out of the garden – and people too!

  • Growing and Harvesting Sweet Potatoes « The Journey To Simple

    […] We found that deer really like to eat the sweet potato greens. See our previous post about deer repellent to read how we prevented this. Also, it’s important to regularly inspect the area surrounding […]

  • Lee Deavers

    I don’t understand what the bath soap does? How does it deter the animals?

    Lee

    • agscheidle

      Deer don’t seem to like the smell of the soap and therefore tend to stay away. Soap seems to last longer than things like hair, blood (which attracts skunks, possums, etc). What have you used (besides a fence!)?

  • Laureli Illoura

    We not only have the mule deer, who are not afraid of us… but sometimes huge problems with grasshoppers!!
    I gave up gardening because of grasshoppers (pots on the deck are next).
    I’ve made some nasty-smelling but potent spray using garlic, cayenne pepper and dish soap (so it will stick a little longer and last that whole week). You have to strain it or it clogs up the sprayer. It works on everything but the grasshoppers, which I gave literal showers to, to deter. And I couldn’t keep up with the flower blossoms, which were eaten to the ground by deer- especially the hollyhocks.
    Sigh.
    Good luck!

  • Thomas Proctor

    My father uses left over hair from my mothers beauty shop. I believe its the mix of human and chemicals that were in the hair that does the trick. Seemed to work on my fathers 10×13 garden.

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