Career Opportunities

The deer around here seem determined to cause me to find another way to spend the second half of life.  But, in keeping with yesterday’s post I’m trying to stay focused on the positive.  So instead of complaining that they’re now eating my tomato plants, I’ll say that I’m happy to report that they’ve only eaten some, not all, of them.

For those of you who farm or garden and have always believed, as I did, that deer don’t eat tomato plants, I’m sorry to report that in fact they do.

Yesterday morning I discovered that they’ve been munching on the young plants, taking out the buds.

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I’ve never had to worry about protecting nightshades from deer.  Until now.

I spent yesterday afternoon improvising a fence around what’s left of the winter squash.  It won’t keep them out if they want in, but maybe it will at least keep out the lazy ones.

Meanwhile the purple hull peas are starting to emerge.   Deer eat them like candy, so they’re protected by electric net fencing, which will work until one of them is smart enough to realize how easily they can hop over it.  I’m hoping that won’t happen before the crop is in.

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As for what I should do with my spare time if they do in all the gardens, maybe I should write a script for a movie.

Or a cartoon.

Or a children’s book.

 

Peter Rabbit

Or maybe I should invest in some landmines.

 

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21 comments on “Career Opportunities

  1. Joanna says:

    I’m surprised we don’t have more deer damage than we do, as we see them often enough. Our problem is with wild boar, especially in autumn when they damage the pasture that we need for the animals.

    When we are moving the normal three stranded fence for the sheep, we temporarily use the sheep netting and they quite happily stay behind the fence, until my husband rattles the feed tray on the outside and says “come on” and then with little effort one of the sheep jumped clear over it. Obviously in far too much of a hurry for me to make an opening.

    So here’s hoping your fence is effective enough until your crop is gathered in.

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    • Bill says:

      Fortunately we don’t have to deal with wild boar. We have plenty of predators here–the worst of which are coyotes, hawks and foxes, but the deer are by far the worst problem. Rabbits and groundhogs can damage our gardens but deer can mow them to the ground overnight. It’s definitely a challenge to garden here.

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      • Joanna says:

        We have lynx (bobcat), foxes and there have been some wolves a couple of years ago, fortunately not seen any since. Rabbits we don’t have, but if the winters got milder I think we could have. We do have hares, although I haven’t seen our resident one now, I think he/she must have been eaten by the fox. We have lost two cockerels now and suspect a fox. Folks not too far away have problems with moose, they crash through fences and leave the fields open to other creatures like the deer. I guess that it would be safer to garden in the urban environment 😀

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  2. The deer here ate about half the flowers off my potatoes, like you I thought nightshades were safe.
    Here’s hoping you have unsmart, lazy deer, and get to keep you peas and the remaining squash.

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    • Bill says:

      Good grief. Just yesterday I was joking with my wife that maybe we should become potato farmers, since it seems like that’s the only plants deer aren’t eating. I had no idea they’d eat potato plants too.

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  3. Bob Braxton says:

    contraception

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  4. Buffy says:

    Do you have yard dogs? Beagles?

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    • Bill says:

      We do, but our old Lab is not on the top of her game anymore. We had a beagle and he loved to chase deer, but he’d wander off on a trail and be gone for days at a time, chasing them all over the county. He wasn’t territorial so he wasn’t much help.

      This tomato garden is over a quarter mile from our house so yard dogs wouldn’t matter anyway.

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  5. EllaDee says:

    It seems the local deer population have evolved so they can eat what you have to offer Opportunists. If only they were doing it intentionally, maliciously, it’d be so much easier to deal with. Good to laugh 🙂 but I can imagine the effort it takes.

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    • bobraxton says:

      I concur. Regarding grey squirrels, we specifically avoid Sunflower seeds. We buy safflower seeds instead – because “squirrels do not like”/eat them. Our squirrels have adapted. They did not get the memo. I especially like the black (squirrel) — reminds me of those that were at Princeton the four years our son attended (1989-1993).

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    • Bill says:

      What’s so annoying is that this garden is on the edge of an unfenced field lush with orchard grass. There is no reason whatsover to eat the tomato plants, which they obviously don’t like very much.

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  6. shoreacres says:

    Can you sell venison sausage, retail?

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    • Bill says:

      Not legally. There is a stupid federal law that makes it illegal to sell game meat.

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      • bobraxton says:

        friends who bow hunt (legally, in season) – use it (filling a freezer), give it (to friends), give it away (such as meals for homeless) – this is in Virginia

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  7. avwalters says:

    We have deer AND bunnies. The fence must be tall, and go below the surface, too!

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    • Bill says:

      Bunnies can be annoying here. But deer are much more devastating. Groundhogs do more damage than rabbits too.

      But you’re right, to make a garden safe the fence needs to go below ground too. A roof would also help.

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      • bobraxton says:

        spouse and I (she is 70) rode our bicycles about two hours each way along the Western & Old Dominion – Fairfax County (Vienna, Falls Church), Arlington County, into the edge of Georgetown (D.C.) and along one stretch on the south side we saw a large and delicious looking garden with both okra plants and many tall tomato plants (staked up) – no obvious fence. On the other side I noticed a garden that had not only tall fence but also a “roof” which looked like white colored “rope” (like a Net with very large spacing) — and I thought “deer” — I do not know who has the garden or what the exact physical arrangement is / was; however, theirs is on a much smaller scale in my view.

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  8. bobraxton says:

    ? motion-activated “sprinkler” (but, see note about raccoons): http://tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=14235

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  9. […] Career Opportunities.  Another anti-deer rant.  In this one I wonder what other career options I might have if deer put […]

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