Although they’re beautiful, if you’re a gardener, you know how destructive deer can be. Especially since they love to snack on tender young plants each spring. That's why you need a deer-proof garden.
To help protect your garden from deer you need a plan. Here’s how to save your vegetables, fruit, or flowers if you live in an area where deer are common.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Barriers to protect your garden
The best method for dealing with deer in your garden involves creating barriers to keep them out of your garden.
In fact, this is the only sure-fire way to create a deer-proof garden. And it helps to keep them from turning your vegetables into snacks.
Deer love tender young seedlings. They will quickly wipe out an entire garden full in the early morning before you even get out of bed.
Fencing is the best way to block off a larger garden. Your garden fence should be tall to help keep deer from simply jumping over it and destroying your garden.
A small deer-proof garden should include a fence at least 6 feet tall. If you're not overly concerned with appearance, try building a pallet fence for free.
If, however, you have a large vegetable garden or want to fence your entire yard, you need to go taller. You need to make your fence at least 10 feet tall.
Deer can jump high. And they've been known to do so rather than go around a large obstacle. A simple chain link fence will work just fine for a deer-proof garden, job making it fairly affordable in most areas.
Cover seedlings to protect them. If a full fence is not an option, help protect seedlings by giving them their own personal barriers from wild animals. Wondering what I mean? It's simple.
Make little cages to protect each vegetable from chicken wire and ties. And then simply set the little cages over the small tender plants until they get too big to be of interest.
Note: Fix them firmly to the ground so the deer can't just nose them out of the way.
Chicken Wire for a Deer Proof Garden
Many gardeners make a large chicken wire frame to place over their garden beds. This helps to help protect the entire bed from deer and rabbits while they get started.
These frames help protect your garden from squirrels and birds as well while you wait for seeds to germinate. Build these by using a wooden frame to attach the chicken wire with a staple gun.
Try a Laundry Basket
If you need something in a pinch, simply toss upside-down laundry baskets over your seedlings to help provide them with protection from the deer.
For the best results, you may want to set something heavy on top of these to prevent the wind from blowing them over.
Sneaky Tips for a Deer Proof Garden
If you prefer to avoid barriers to protect your garden from deer, try one of these methods instead.
Grow Hot Peppers
Hot peppers both growing in your garden and powdered peppers from the grocery store sprinkled around your garden can help repel deer from your garden. Deer do not like the scent or taste of hot peppers making them a great option for a garden that has been targeted by deer.
Plant Some Mint
Mint is a fragrant herb that deer are not fans of. The strong scent bothers them and blocks them from smelling your other plants.
Planting mint along fence lines and borders in your garden is a great way to reduce the number of issues you have with local deer.
Deter Deer With Soap
Soap. One popular tool for a deer-proof garden is to place Irish spring soap bars cut into quarters into your garden beds. The strong scent helps to cover the smell of your tender seedlings while making the area smell less than pleasant to deer.
This is a simple and easy way to help keep deer from going after your plants. The soap will not harm your garden and will eventually wash away so if it goes forgotten there is no harm done.
Spread Human Hair in Your Garden
Human hair is a great deterrent for deer. When they smell it they think a human is near. They will then be more likely to run off than stick around to see if a human actually shows up.
When adding hair, make it a point to spread the hair out around your garden. Eventually, the hair will break down. And you'll get added nutrition in your soil for an added benefit.
For long hair be sure to cut it small. This helps to prevent birds from becoming injured or tangled up by the long hair.
Protect Your Vegetable Garden
Getting a dog is a great way to protect your garden from deer. A dog will quickly and efficiently scare deer off on sight making your yard a scary place that deer do not want to visit no matter how tempting your vegetables look.
You want to keep your dog away from your garden beds to help protect your plants from being trampled but it is easier to teach a dog to stay out of your garden than it is to teach deer to stay out.
Here's another easy way to deer-proof your garden. Add a motion-activated sprinkler between where the deer are coming from and your garden.
This sprinkler will scare off the deer by squirting them with water whenever they come near. This is a harmless way to protect your garden from the deer without risking harming them and with less work than caring for a guard dog.
Still having trouble creating a deer-proof garden? You could always try this recipe for homemade deer repellent from The Farmer's Almanac. Let me know how it goes!
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