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The Peas Are Here — So Are The Deer

First snow peas from the gardenWe enjoyed our first snow peas today fresh from the garden but it was a close call. Two nights ago some deer climbed over our 3 foot fence and decided to have dinner. Their tasty meal consisted of just perfect, ready to pick romaine and boston lettuce after which they enjoyed the tops of our peas. Luckily the string pea supports stopped them from eating the pea vines right to the base of the plants so we will still have plenty for ourselves.

We have found the deer are coming further into our gardens now. I don’t know whether it is because our landscape is now well developed with large trees and shrubs or because it has been a hot dry spring after a mild winter or a bit of everything. Whatever the reason, I have much more deer damage that we have ever had before. All my hostas are eaten, and as I said, they are now climbing into the vegetable garden something they haven’t done in the previous 5 years.

So today I went out and built myself a temporary deer fence. While it won’t be strong enough if they decide to push down the fence, I’m hoping it’s enough of a deterrent to make them go around and leave my veggies alone. Help yourself to my hostas, leave the lettuce for me.

new deer fence
The new deer fence wiring above our original rabbit fence. It will have to do until we can put in a stronger fence if needed.

To make this quick and easy I bought 10 foot galvanized pipe conduit. Each were only $4 and it took 9 in total. I then strung five rows of galvanized 16 gauge wire (hubby who is taller than me will do the 6th row). I sunk the posts by hand into the ground 3 feet, then ran the wire, wrapping it around each pole as I went. If this works, great, if not we will have to think about building a proper deer fence. That however will have to wait until fall when all the produce is out of the garden.

As a secondary precaution I covered my lettuce with netting. While I lost out on the perfect first heads, they will regrow. I hope the deer enjoyed them at least.

garden netting for rabbits and deer
The netting should help if the deer do get through the fence. Should have done this right from the start I guess.

2 Responses

  1. Carlos Cavazos
    | Reply

    Am in my 3rd year of gardening and have had deer problems as well. Tried the sprays, but the ‘maintenance’ on such deterrents after every rain worked against my persisting with them.

    This year, I finally sunk 8′ – 3″ X 4″ landscape timbers I bought at ~$1.43 each late winter of 2012. Bought 50 of them, but only used a dozen or so as an INSIDE PERIMITER fence, inside my dilapidated ~5′ fence surrounding my ~4800 square foot garden with about 8-12′ lawn around the garden and inside the fence.

    The deer fence, I put ~3′ inside the original fence. Had at least one deer venture into the garden this spring twice, but as soon as the corner and gate posts for two gates went in and for the next couple of months, I had no deer foraging in the garden. Then, I found deer tracks and foraging damage once again.

    So I tied two lines of string — yes, string! — ~2′ from the top of the posts (sunk ~18″ into the ground) and ~ 3′ from the ground level. Halfway between each post, I tied a strip of plastic I had cut (~1 1/2 – 2″ wide) lengthwise from scrap bags of composted cow manure and potting soil bags on the top line. Between the gate posts, I only tied the line at the top so I can pass under readily with the garden tractor mower, or with the wheel barrow or other garden tools.

    In the 3-4 months since, I have had no deer foraging in the garden. Purchased half-mile of 17-gauge wire from our local feed store and will replace the string with 3 strands, probably, of this wire once our weather cools off a bit.

    Lord willing, deer problems in the garden should stop now, since deer fencing websites have noted much success with such perimeter fencing, though some such fences are quite elaborate. They mention something about the deer’s depth perception halting deer crossing the double barrier fencing. Seems to be working so far.

    • everchanging gardener
      | Reply

      Thanks Carlos. They have gotten into our garden a couple more times, we think through the gate which is lower so for now I put bungee cords across the gate up to 7 feet. I’ll have to do something more elaborate this fall so will look into your idea of a double perimeter fence, sounds promising.

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