Wednesday, March 10, 2010

my gardening secret

So I noticed that Jen is posting over on the edge about needing a deer-proof fence. And I feel so guilty about not coming forward earlier with this info, that I'm staying up late to post it finally now.

Yes, I seem to have th
e secret to keeping deer from eating everything in my yard. And it's relatively non-toxic (at least I assume so). And cheap. And only mildly labor-intensive.

And here's the proof: the first fall I lived in this house, I planted a bazillion bulbs
, because I love spring flowers, and I loved knowing that the ground was mine to plant however many flowers I had the energy to plant.

Fast-forward to the spring, and I was so excited to see things start to pop up out of the ground. I even started taking pictures of all the lovely bits of greenery coming up. One morn
ing, on my way out to the car, I noticed some bits of green on the ground, and as I was trying to figure out what kind of plant that was exactly, I realized it was my lovely tulips which were a couple of inches high the day before, now eaten all the way to the ground. Hmmmph. One very not-happy camper. Similar things kept happening. All the tulips disappeared. One after the other.

The daffodils survived, I learned later, because they are toxic to animals.

The next spring, I got desperate to have some tulips. I tried sprinkling the leaves with chili powder. That may have worked for a bit, but chili powder washes off with the slightest rain. Eventually, the deer feasted. And yes, we definitely have deer. I have surprised a deer in our yard one evening as I was dump
ing the compost in the bin, coming within maybe five feet of a deer before I heard it and we startled each other.

Later that summer, a neighbor suggested her trick, which I completely pooh-poohed. Something so simple couldn't possibly work, could it? If I could remember it long enough, I decided I would try it.

The secret: Irish Spring soap. Evidently, deer don't like the smell. It is pretty strong. But you can see from the photos above, that my tulips didn't get eaten to the ground. And yes, they actually bloomed last year. However, if anyone has advice about keeping little boys from pulling the blooms off, all the while saying "No, no, no!" I'd love to hear it.

Jen, I'm sorry it took me so long to post this... but I hope you find it helpful. I buy the stuff in bulk now.

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