Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Well, I should count my blessings because they only got about nine out of my 83 tomato plants, but most of the ones they got were my beloved Brandy's.

We were planning on putting up a decent deer fence in the next week because putting it up any sooner was simply out of the question. In the meantime I was using some deer spray that works really well but we've had SO much rain that I guess it's effectiveness was essentially gone.

So my question is--

should I keep the plants or use the space for something else? The plants that were chomped on are not entirely decimated--they are still about 18-24 inches tall with a few leaves here and there. The roots were not bothered at all so I'm hoping that if I spray for the next few days and get that fence up asap that the plants will bounce back. I know they'll be behind, but I just have a hard time pulling up a Brandy. I also figure they've still got all of July and August and hopefully most of September...what do you think? Is it enough time, or should I just put some of my basil seedling in their place and call it a day?

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I'd wait and hope --unless you got a great love and need for the basil.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

I'd most certainly save them. 18 - 20" is a darn good start, especially with this weather. These couple of days of sunshine, followed by yet more rain, should give them a nice boost. I've broken plants in half before, mostly with the help of a good strong wind/storm and they've come back better than before.

Best of luck to you!

Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Rosie--I have a great love and need for the basil but I do have other space for it. The tomato space is just "better" space and I'd rather have it go to my second favorite crop if the tomatoes weren't going to make it. But I am going to take your advice and wait and hope!

Sequee--Thank you!!! Your words are good to hear--I am going to pray pray pray that they come back! It's just so disheartening--I went out this morning--our first sunny morning in what seems like forever--only to find that so many of my Brandys were not leafy enough to really enjoy it. :p

I have taken to calling our deer "Bumpuses" after the annoying neighbors in "A Christmas Story." That way instead of swearing when I go outside I can just yell "BUMPUSES!!!!!" at the top of my voice.

Hey, we all have our stress relievers. ;) :D

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

LOL! And I do hear you about the rain. Sheesh - What a season! I've only had to water twice. Once in April and once in May! Totally bizarre! And let's not even discuss slug damage!!!

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I got out of the car the other day after an especially 'trying' day at work. ..I walked up the walk....hand on the screened door and I was face to face with this huge deer (maybe huge because I was up against it). Our NC deer aren't all that big. It was a female.. she was helping herself either to the clematis on the trellis or the japanese maple...I don't think the agastache. ..... She looked at me and I looked at her .... and I stuck my tongue out and she whipped around and got out of there quick! I have seen birdhouses ...heads with their tongues out...maybe I will invest in one! Her head was at that trellis...Her tush was at the Jap maple (Much bigger now - this is an old photo) and in front of that trellis are 4 feet high agasthache.. so you can see there isn't much room and so she was pretty much stuck when I surprised her (and she me) I was on the walkway there but right up close to the trellis.

Thumbnail by missingrosie
Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

When I have deer damage here I take it philosophically because I figure it works out even. Fewer tomatoes in the freezer leaves room for more venison.

They can have their fun now, but come November, it's pay-back time. LOL

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Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Oh, man! I love my vennison, but I can't stand to see the slaughtered babies. My boss used to bring me pounds of vennison - then he'd show me the photos. We finally ironed out that kink. I keep the vennison, he keeps the photos!

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

"the slaughtered babies"

Yeah, yeah - just like my wife. We live on a six-acre place, fenced, with lots of pasture that I have to keep mowed. It's a perfect place to raise a calf for the freezer - but I know better.

If I raised a calf, it'd have a name. It would learn to follow my wife around and eat out of her hand, and it'd get petted a lot and shampooed once a week. It would probably have a big red bow around its neck and get extra, expensive, food (pasture grass not being good enough).

It would finally die of old age (after however long cows live), and I'm sure a veterinarian would be called to put that off as long as possible. Then I'd have to dig an enormous hole and we'd have a cow funeral, with tears. None of this would ever put any beef in the freezer.

But once I've done all the cleaning and changed venison, beef, fish, or whatever to tidy freezer packages, then my wife will cook and eat the heck out of them without a qualm. Darndest thing. lol

Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Sequee---shhhhh--no slugs for me yet....I don't know how that happened, but shhhhhh.....

Rosie--wow! I'm glad the deer decided to bolt and not charge you. They have been known to do that.

Ozark--good for you! I'm a vegetarian but I have NO qualms with those who hunt or hunting in general. And in all honesty, any soft spot I had for deer evaporated ages ago once I

1. Started gardening and
2. Got lyme disease.

So I essentially see deer as vermin--extra large rats that love to drop their disease-ridden ticks everywhere--so I wish there were more hunters, not less. And if RI law didn't have the 300 ft. limit in regards to shooting a gun near a home I'd be in my back yard come November with my shotgun just waiting and happy to donate the deer to the whomever wanted it or to the local food bank. ;)

Victoria, Canada

Niere, I feel your pain. We put up netting around the potential deer entrances to our yard months ago and it seemed to be doing the trick. Then they found a loophole by coming down from our neighbour's 9 houses down and wandering through everyone's unfenced backyards. Luckily for me, they had a good feeding on all the other gardens before reaching mine and only took nibbles out of my eggplant, tumbler tomato, bell pepper, and strawberries before finding my lettuce.

So last weekend, up went some more netting to cover that "deer entrance". That left only one side of the backyard open, but it's quiet a climb over an uneven pile rock so I was hopeful they wouldn't make the effort. I was wrong. The other day, I woke up to another traumatic attack on my little veggie garden. They were more selective now and go straight for the strawberries, peppers, and lettuce.

I covered my targeted plants with bird netting for the night and was back at Home Depot first thing this morning for more posts and netting. Now my entire backyard is surrounded by netting and I'm praying that this is enough.

In my reading up on other ways to deter deer, I came across some posts about Liquid Fence for deer. It seems like something that would be good for flowers and inedible plants, but not so much for veggies. Is there anything similar that would work for veggies?

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

We have used wireless deer fencing and that seemed to keep them away from the tigerlilies we have down by the river bank, which had been a real favorite of theirs. For our vegetable garden, though, we have a strand of electric fence around the top of the garden fence and that seems to do the trick. DH put it about three feet out, where they'd have to stand to get ready to jump, and so far it's worked.

Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Well, I sprayed everything again last night and they still came back--didn't do as much damage as the night before, but any more damage is just that more of a kick in the stomach so I'm off today to get some floating row covers to cover everything at night until I can get the fence up. It's going to be a royal pain to put it on every night and take it off for the next week until we can get the fence up but I don't think I have much of a choice.

Angel--I use Bobbex--it's organic and usually works very very well--it kept my totally unprotected tulips safe all spring from the deer. I just think that now unfortunately there is at least one deer who has developed a taste for tomato plants (aren't they supposed to be poisonous?) and now doesn't seem to care that there's the added flavoring of urea and rotten eggs. I'm so sorry to hear about your garden--I hope your additional netting now does the trick!

Greenhouse gal--I've been thinking that I may need to ultimately add an electrical line along with the fencing we put up. Can you explain in a little more detail how he has that line rigged up? Is it on the same posts as the regular fencing but out on an angle, and if so how is that constructed? I'd love to know. Thanks!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Ours is on separate metal poles, insulated with plastic, about two feet outside the main fencing, and is about 26 or 28" high. My DH wanted to position it so that it would either get the deers' noses or their chests as they were preparing to leap. When we first put it up, that night we heard a deer make contact with it and it sounded like it fell backwards or at least landed somehow with a thump. There was a lot of huffing and panting - clearly a creature in distress - and then it obviously left.

DH says that the poles he's seen more recently for the same use are fibreglas.

Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Thanks--how high is the regular fencing you have? We are thinking of going with 7' high fencing and then adding a string at about 8 feet high.

If that doesn't work we are going to have to go electrical. Luckily, where we now have the garden where used to be an above ground pool so there's already some electrical access to that area.



Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Our regular fencing is only 4'. Some of it is board shadow-box and some is just posts and livestock fencing. DH also has a strand of electric fence running about 6" above the regular fence, but he says that's never been disturbed so it's probably not contributing to the effectiveness of the setup, especially since the rest of the fence isn't metal so the deer wouldn't get a shock if they just came into contact with it as they were leaping.

We have friends who just put up an 8' mesh fence with a dark band on the top, but we don't find that necessary. They didn't use fence posts but just nailed it to trees. You'd need 10' posts for something like that.

Our setup comes off the garage so we don't have a problem with electrical access, but DH uses a battery and recharges it as needed. You could remove the battery easily and take it anywhere to recharge it if you needed to. One charge lasts a long time and he only has to recharge it two or three times a year. There's almost no drain on it unless something touches it. You could buy a deep-cycle 12-volt battery that they make for boats and RVs that will recharge indefinitely. The disposable ones get very expensive because you have to keep replacing them. You could also use a solar setup; that's what a lot of people are getting these days. We just happened to have the battery-operated unit handy.


Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Leslie--if it's not a bother (no hurry), could you Dmail me the name of the company that produces your fence? I like the idea of the rechargeable battery. I'd really appreciate it.


Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Niere, the charger came from one place and the posts, insulators and aluminum wire are generic and can be bought anywhere. A farm supply place would be a good starting point for those things and you can buy a rechargeable battery and charger at any auto supply store. Just make sure you get a deep-cycle battery; you might have to look at a marina or RV place for that. We bought those things years ago, probably at Farm & Family, which is no longer around. We do have a Tractor Supply store which would probably carry them.

Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Thanks Leslie--we have a Tractor Supply about twenty minutes from here, I'll see what they have.

Thank you! :)

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Let me know how you make out! Our Tractor Supply is about that far too.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Our supper last night was deer tenderloin, baked potato, green beans, and sliced cucumbers. Too bad I didn't grow potatoes this year, 'cause that 'tater was the only thing that came from the store.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Don't you love having meals that are all from your place? We often have chicken or goose - or deer - that came from our property, since DH's deerstand is right in our woods. I'll bet you really enjoyed that meal! What a sense of satisfaction.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

I feasted on fresh caught trout, sauted sugar peas and onions, and a small salad with 3 kinds of lettuce, the last of the radishes, some purple podded peas, and baby onions. Just the butter, olive oil and balsamic vinegar were store bought. Not bad.

I'm really hoping the borer slugs I've been reading about aren't having their way with my potatoes. I read where they can go down or a foot or so deep. That would really tick me off!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Sequee, what a delicious-sounding meal! We do eat well, don't we? Good luck with your potatoes!

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

I actually had a dream about those things last night! LOL! (Do I dare dig around and see if there's anything under there???)

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have been researching deer fences. I think it's the only way to keep the deer from the plants you don't want them to devour.
This post was written in 2009. So, in 2012, three years later, how is the Wireless Deer Fencing doing?
I am either going to get the Wireless Deer Fencing or get an Electric Fence. What have been your experiences?

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

We stopped using the wireless deer fencing; the deer stayed away from that area and we haven't needed it. I don't see it offered anywhere anymore, though, so it may not have been a good solution for many people. We still use our electric fence around the garden, though, and I think that's a more reliable deterrent.

Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Years ago we put up an eight foot fence and we haven't had a deer problem since. :)

*looks around, hopes the woodchucks didn't hear me say anything...*

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

nor the voles!

Burgaw, NC(Zone 8a)

for years we had really brazen deer coming within 5-10' of the house to munch on roses and hostas and day lily buds!. All my beloved hostas ended up in pots clustered near the doors and they still got eaten. Yes we've actually shot a few right out the front door! Man! rifle is real loud when fired from inside LOL! I bought 2 motion activated sprinklers to protect a couple of shrubs in the yard, but their range is very limited. Fencing was not practical. I was taking dirty clothes into the yard at dusk and cloths pinning them to limbs and shepherds' hooks and such, and then rushing around collecting them in the morning. Wew, but it worked, mostly.The proprietor of the local feed store talked me into trying the liquid deer repellent concentrate they sell. I was pretty skeptical, but desperate. I mixed it stronger, and sprayed more often than the directions said was necessary, but IT WORKED!!! That was last spring and summer. I've only sprayed 2 times this year, just when the hostas were breaking (yep, they're scattered around in the ground now) and on the day lily buds. The deer really seem to have given up on my yard, even though I see them just a couple hundred feet away from the yard. I'll continue to use this stuff occasionally, just to reinforce their aversion.
Off topic a little, but I wouldn't hesitate to spray this stuff on veggies. This AM saw tracks pretty close to my watermellon vines...................

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Jan, what kind of liquid deer repellent do you use? We really like DeerAway; I suggested to DH that we try it after reading that Weyerhauser used it for their huge tree farms on the west coast. It doesn't wash off and only needs to be resprayed to protect new foliage. Still, I wouldn't spray any of that stuff on veggies....

Burgaw, NC(Zone 8a)

The product I started with is "Liquid Fence- Deer and rabbit repellent" ingredients: putrescent egg solids 24.65%, garlic 2.96%, sodium lauryl sulfate .61%. This stuff really stinks, but I mixed it stronger than recommended. Did I mention I was DESPERATE !? LOL
When that ran out I bought "BioDefend- deer and rabbit repellent" ingredients putrescent egg solids 12%, sodium lauryl sulfate 3%, white pepper .03%. same smell, and once again mixed strong....I was still worried, but not as DESPERATE.
Both state they are safe on edible crops, but don't think I spray on a tomato I'm about to pick, but I have found that just spraying heavily around a general area keeps the munchers away. I'd feel pretty good about spraying the soil/mulch around lettuce, which I will definitely do this fall. Boyoboy, deer really love Romaine! Like I said earlier, I was a serious skeptic, having seen adds for this stuff for years and totally poo pooing it; but I was DESPERATE!
I love this stuff! Rotten eggs now smell like victory to me.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

That's great that it works for you! But I'd still be careful around food crops. Veggies like lettuce take up a lot of liquid and would also absorb the ingredients of the spray. Don't forget that quite toxic pesticides are also listed as safe for vegetable gardens, but personally I wouldn't use them.

Burgaw, NC(Zone 8a)

I mulch very heavily with wheat straw. Not too worried about absorbtion with a light spraying on top of that, but thanks for the warning.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Do you guys have ANY white plastic bags surrounding your gardens? Or tried it and it didn't work?

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