We have kept a medium sized farm in Jasper, Indiana since I was a little girl and my father taught me just about everything I know about growing things out of the ground.
That included the knowledge that good soil preparation was the key to having a productive garden. Because we only farm about an acre and don’t tend to rotate the crops during our five growing “seasons” I know to take my soil samples over to Rick Applegate at Precision Farming Solutions on a regular basis to find out what the soil needed.
Precision Farming Solutions (www.precisionfarmingsolutions.net) was founded by Rick Applegate and they specialize in providing the cutting edge Ag solutions for farmers throughout Indiana and neighboring Kentucky. They use real science to evaluate every aspect of your farm and growing conditions and provide you with comprehensive reports that identify problems . . . then they offer you specific solutions to improve your productivity and your bottom line!
Precision Farming Solutions also advises me when conditions in my region raise up different kinds of pests and plant diseases. They usually advise me what to look out for and how to deal with it should I have problems.
Regular readers of my blog know that a couple of years ago, I contracted Lyme disease, which is thought to come from the bite of the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) which harbors the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
I hadn’t given much thought to the deer we would see passing through our land back then. After my diagnosis, I was concerned about having the children out tending the crops for fear the same fate that had befallen me might get them.
One day when I was visiting Precision Farming Solutions I casually brought up the subject of deer and I was not expecting to hear that deer are actually real pests in some gardens. It would seem that when they take a particular fancy to something you’re growing like fruits or vegetables, they can wipe out a small crop in a day or two.
One thing Precision Farming Solutions knows about is pest control. We don’t like to use too many pesticides on our crops but we do recognize that they are needed because without them, we wouldn’t have any crops at all.
Precision Farming Solutions always worked with us suggesting the best ways to minimize the use of pesticide products and maximize the effect. When it came to suggestions about discouraging deer, they did not disappoint!
As it turns out there are over a dozen ways to minimize deer on your property, some very natural and a few that are a wee bit more industrial, so this week, we’re going to go over them for you!
WAYS TO STOP DEER
The first time-honored way to prevent encroachment on your land is with a fence. For discouraging deer, a fence needs to be much higher than a horse fence. The good folks at Precision Farming Solutions told me that deer will jump over horse fences all day when they are after something tasty to eat in your garden. It really takes a blockade about 8′ high to stop deer. You can create one with the low cost, plastic mesh webbing available and long stakes. For me, this was just impractical. There was too much land to cover and unless I had a very high gate put in at the driveway, they could have just entered that way.
Scent Marking is a technique that many swear by. The Coyote and wolves are the natural predators of deer. Believe it or not, you can buy a concoction of coyote urine bottled and meant to be sprinkled around the perimeter of your property. You family pet’s urine is also a deterrent as is your own. Deer have an evolutionary predilection for avoiding areas where their predators have marked the territory. It is a survival instinct that may overwhelm their hunger for your crops and make them move on.
The Family Pet
For the most part, the family pet would be the dog. Aside from the aforementioned scent marking scenario, the dog has the ability to run out and confront the deer directly, something the deer don’t like.
Deer are skittish. Many of you may have water sprinklers on timers to irrigate your crops. Creating a parallel valve system triggered with a motion sensor will make the water spray out when the deer trigger it and it does scare them off.
Most soaps have some kind of scent mixed in with them and when it comes to scented soaps and candles, even more so. Some folks have successfully sprinkled soap powder, ground up scented soap, even ground up scented candles on the trail where the deer come in and it serves them well to deter them.
Yes, just sprinkle your favorite spice around the perimeter of your crops and watch the deer shy away. One dose teaches them a lesson, fast!
In general, if you enjoy eating it, so will the deer. This goes for pretty much everything . . . every fruit, vegetable or spice you might plant for human consumption. To make matters worse, they are also OK eating things you wouldn’t eat . . . like your ornamental plants, at least the ones they find tasty. The deer want high moisture content and easy chewing, (think lettuce!) They shy away from plants with barbs and thorns which is why you often find such things on certain berry plants as nature’s way of dissuading the animals. Planting a few scented crops like garlic, chives or mint can often serve to mask the smell of the more delicious crops around them and confuse the deer.
If you perform even the most cursory Internet search, you will find dozens of home brew recipes for deer deterrence. They typically have a slop of eggs, garlic, any and all things pungent and unpleasant and many swear by such concoctions. All folks considering such a tactic must weigh the logistics of their own situation. Personally, the perimeter of my property was so large that whipping up a 55 gallon drum of the smelly brew did not seem practical or cost effective.
Commercial Deer Deterrents
When you don’t have the time to experiment with all the aforementioned ways to keep the deer away, you may just want to consult with the good folks at Precision Farming Solutions, (www.precisionfarmingsolutions.net) and they’ll be happy to discuss some of the high-powered remedies available to solve your problem.
I hope this list has been helpful for you. Trust me, you really want to be proactive and avoid either you or your family ever catching Lyme disease!