A Drag

We’re enjoying lots of great produce this summer, but as with all summers, it has had its challenges.

Weeds and pests have taken their usual (but manageable) tolls. We expect some losses from them and we willingly pay that price.

But once again it is the deer that are hurting us the most this year. I wouldn’t have expected things to get worse than they were last year, but they have.

This year our deer have expanded their diets to include tomato and pepper plants–plants that I had understood were toxic to deer. Evidently I was wrong about that.  Our tomato production has been decimated.

2 foot tall heirloom tomato plants that should be 6 feet tall and loaded with tomatoes. We have hundreds like this.

2 foot tall heirloom tomato plants that should be 6 feet tall and loaded with tomatoes. We have hundreds of plants like this.

The pepper plants were severely pruned but the verdict is still out on whether they will be productive.

Cayenne pepper plant, stripped

Cayenne pepper plant eaten by deer

The parts of the pepper plants they spared are still producing peppers.

The parts of the bell pepper plants they spared (notice how they’ve bitten off the top of the plant) are still producing peppers.

And sadly some enterprising deer jumped our fences and destroyed our spaghetti and butternut squash. Luckily they don’t seem to like acorn squash.

This is what the butternut squash garden looks like. The squash is gone, and the plants are trampled.

This is what the butternut squash garden looks like. The squash is gone, and the plants are trampled.

They also ate the peas and they’ve been munching on the watermelons.

Purple hull pea remains

Purple hull pea remains

A deer took a bite out of the melon, making it unsaleable. They also ate the runners, so that no more fruit will set.

A deer took a bite out of the melon, making it unsaleable. They also ate the runners, so that no more fruit will set.

And our cover crops? Not happening. They mow down the buckwheat as soon as it starts coming up.

Our production this year will be a fraction of what it should have been.  That’s a drag.

Hopefully next year we’ll come up with a solution.