Don’t let the deer eat your dinner
Living amongst the deer, elk, and moose creates many benefits. However, when it comes to growing a garden, it is simply a constant battle. The animals are hungry. The garden is full of healthy food. It makes sense that the deer will come to dinner.
Dogs do a fair job of keeping the deer away. It is probably not the best choice for the dogs or the deer. Dogs will break loose and chase the deer. Deer may jump in harms way running from the dogs. If the dogs are kenneled then it is safer for both, but less effective.
Scented soap shavings are sometimes used in hopes that the deer will not like the smell and go a different direction. However, there is the constant chore of laying out more shavings because of rain. If it is too close to the garden soap may reach plant that you would rather it did not.
Scarecrows covered with clothes that have a strong human scent are said to be very effective. Maggy Johanson, in Alder Gulch, Montana swears by this method. Instead of putting the clothes in a hamper the family takes them off and hangs them on the poles around the garden. Each day the clothes are taken in and replaced with new smelly ones.
A very tall fence is effective. It can be unsightly. It may be hard to work around with gates and such to get to the garden.
Helen Johnson had one of the most interesting methods in the neighborhood. In fact, most of her neighbors really appreciated her plan. It did require a lot of land, but it worked like a charm. She planted a very nice large garden and then surround it with bee balm. Deer do not like this herb and bee and butterflies do.
Helen knew that was not enough to keep the deer out of the garden. On the other side of the property Helen planted here deer garden. She filled it with things the deer loved to eat. Some of the plants they enjoy are cedar, yew, day lilies and hostas. Make sure there is a variety. Place a salt lick in the area. Yes, plant the deer their own garden and keep it interesting and growing enough that they want to go there.
Eventually the neighbors all joined the crusade and laid out deer gardens as well. The entire little community knew the path the deer would take for the munchies.
Remember the deer were here first, so the best you can do is make sure they have food and protect your own.