Monday, July 02, 2007

Looks like our zucchini problem has been solved

When I went back to my garden to see if it needed water, I found I wasn't the garden's only visitor this morning. I think the deer I saw the other morning several streets away from our house have finally found my patch of herbivore heaven. Because this used to be three lush zucchini plants ... and this tomato used to be about a foot taller ...
and this green pepper actually had leaves yesterday.
Think I can positively identify them by the bite mark they left on one of the victims? They do that on tv all the time.
In between bouts of cursing and throwing garden tools, I keep trying to tell myself that it could have been worse. The deer only ate leaves, no actual vegetables, and anything aromatic was left alone. So the cilantro that is going to bolt any day now and be worthless? Untouched. Nasturtiums, marigolds, onions, and rosemary were left alone. But the peppers, zucchini and tomatoes were all decapitated. I think the deer are just leaving the veggies for later, or maybe they're just sharing the wealth with the raccoons.
I vented my frustration to my parents, who both suggested using The Percy Solution ... that is, invite my father-in-law and his rifle to come sit in the backyard for a few days. When I pointed out that discharging a firearm in a suburb is probably prohibited, my mother said something about some kind of soap, and both gave me suggestions on how to build an elaborate fence around my garden. Neither one appreciated the brilliance of my suggestion that there should be a coyote rental service. You know, just rent one and stake it out in the backyard. Maybe I could temporarily adopt a really angry pit bull?

Jason was skeptical that anything like coyote urine or bear scat or mountain lion vomit would keep the deer away. "You have to make it smell like one of their natural predators. Go buy a six-pack of the cheapest beer you can find, and hang the empty cans around the outside of the garden." We could make a CD of us yelling "YEEEEEE-HAWWWWW!!" and firing guns into the air, too, which would make us really popular with the fireworks-toting, trash-talking driveway basketball players down the street. Actually, if the cans wouldn't attract so many bees and hornets, it would probably be a good idea - the shiny cans would probably keep the squirrels and birds away, too.

I went online, and found a plethora of information on commercial deer repellants here:

Turns out that once again, Mom was right - Dial soap, hung around the area to be protected, was their best combination of price and protection. I think I'll stop by the grocery store and pick some up on the way home from picking up my mother-in-law this afternoon. If only I'd known in advance that we were going to have the deer problem this week, I would have encouraged Percy to come along, too :)

I'll let you know how the soap works. In the meantime, I have at least one crop the deer can't get to - my couch potatoes are coming along nicely this year.


Kimberly said...

That bites (no pun intended really)! Sorry.

Anonymous said...

According to my coworkers, if you fire your rifle from inside the house, then the neighbors won't hear it. Shooting from inside your bedroom keeps the sound inside of the house.

They also recommend opening the window first.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, sorry for the loss of future pleasures. Try Repel, but make sure that you can eat the fruit of you labors afterwards. I only loose flowers, was envisioning a sea of yellow and white when I planted them and got dry sticks instead! May the deer get the biggest tommyache of all times! K's mom