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Deterring critters

I worked at the garden center yesterday, not by myself, as is usually the case late in the season, but with the owner, moving plants and tidying up benches to get ready to display the mums.

And then it rained, so we ended up not working for very long at all.

Two gardeners can't get together in August without asking, "How's your garden doing?" so I had a chance to wail once again about the deer and the tomatoes and the sweet potatoes. (Today would be a good day to take the shovel out there, the ground is nice and soft after the rain.)

She will be going out of town the end of this month and told me to come! pick! tomatoes! Yay! I should at least be able to get a few more jars in the pantry before the season ends.

Winnie, the spray I use is called Liquid Fence, and it's very effective. I should have been using it every couple of weeks, but it's one of those chores I get lazy about once it starts raining tomatoes. And, honestly, I've never had deer bother tomatoes before. I seriously thought I'd lose all my basil, because who doesn't like basil, but according to my local expert, deer don't.

A border of jalapeños and basil is now sounding like an excellent idea.

Liquid Fence smells like urine when it's first applied. The scent fades for humans after a day or so, but remains for deer. You need to reapply it after a rain or every couple weeks, whichever comes first. I hope you get rain more than every couple of weeks, but I saw the drought map on the national news last night. Seriously bad news for farmers and gardeners almost everywhere in the United States.

(I sent up a little prayer of thanks for my full freezer of grass-fed beef, and put "stock up on chicken" on my to-do list, since food prices are expected to rise dramatically in the next six to eight weeks. And don't you just hate it when the news is so doomy and gloomy all the time? I'm much happier when I don't watch.)

Deer Away smells like rotten eggs and Deer Scram smells like a dead body, while Deer Out offers a fresh, minty scent. All of these products work, but it's worth asking at someone at a local nursery which one is most effective in your area. Believe me, I would be using Deer Out if we stocked it at Groundworks. Liquid Fence appears to be the best deterrent for this area.

Denise, you might want to pick those tomatoes before they fully ripen (and, obviously before they are nibbled on) and stick them in a brown paper bag. They'll taste just as sweet and won't serve as hors d'ouevres for whatever is checking them out. I'm guessing a raccoon, since it would have to be something that could stand up on its hind legs to reach the fruits.

Today is another work day, and I need to keep knitting, knitting, knitting. Tonight is the monthly Democratic women's club meeting and I'd hoped to have the bag we're donating for the fund-rasising auction completed to show them. Not. Happening. I'm a third of the way up the body of the bag, but there's still a long way to go. At least this one will be the right size! Knitting on a deadline starts to feel like a job, unless the deadline is the birth of a new baby. Then it's fun.

And since we're speaking of knitting – thanks for your comments and if you're one of those lurkers who only reads and never peeps, this is a good time to quit hiding. There's yarn at the end of this rainbow! (Rules are here.)


Diandra said…
Sounds as if the best way to keep your garden deer-free would be turining it into a slaughterhouse: Urine, feces and dead bodies everywhere. That's where your friendly neighborhood serial killer comes into play. ^^
Debbi said…
Great comment, Diandra! Sounds like a plot line for one of those murder investigation TV programs. =)
MamaKaren said…
For the second year in a row, critters have enjoyed the fruits of my gardening labor (tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, canteloupe). My culprits are groundhogs, but I think the deer repellant would work for them as well. I tried sprinkling hair around the perimeter, but the darned animal just burrowed underneath to make his way in!

I got the Patons Chunky yarn yesterday and have already started on a slouchy hat. Thanks!
denise said…
Debbi - I sure hope a raccoon isn't getting inside my patio fence, but I guess stranger things have happened. I posted some pics on Facebook. I think the "big" tomatoes are being eaten by something that perches on the ledge of the pot, as the tomatoes that are further away from the edge haven't been bothered...yet!
Winnie said…
Thanks for the info on the liquid fence. I am going to look into it..May be too late for this season, but those rabbits will be back for spring feeding for sure (all my tulips they ate when they were to open up...Felt like Mortica with just stems!)

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