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Gardendote of the Day 2013-03-26

Here's another design challenge:

Salient points:

1. The design problem is way the heck in the back in the green outlined area, where I want to plant a bed of vegetables that will grow happily in perhaps 4 hours of sun. "The Shadow" is a always a problem, and there are trees to the East; the photo is facing East. So, right now the bed gets good morning sun, but it won't when the trees leaf out in the summer.

2. In the photo, the design problem is tiny and in the back because I wanted to show The Shadow in all its glory. And I also didn't want to tramp through all the snow in light shoes just for the photo...

3. I built the woodchuck fence before I understood that woodchucks can climb. As it turns out, my problem is not woodchucks but deer, or more precisely one or two deer. (Pests!!!!). I can string black fishing line from fence post to fence post around the garden; that way they run up against something they can't see in the dark, and they go away. But the green patch is outside the garden. So, add more posts? (That's work.) Netting?

Thanks, and thanks for the wonderful photos also...

NOTE Actually there's one more challenge:

4. This bed is far from my Zone A; being lazy, I don't walk far for no reason. So I'm wondering how to make myself walk down there. Maybe move the compost bin? Maybe get another compost bin?

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jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

Deer fences needs to be 8' to 10' tall made with wire, they don't stumble around in the dark. They can see well with just a little moon light. The netting they would tear down or get caught up in, then you really have a problem or dinner for awhile;) There are things that keep them away like Lion piss but I’m not too sure how to go about that. Here’s some ideas on deer and there is a plastic fence material it’s 7.5’ tall, I’m sure some company in your area would care something like this.

I don’t know where you live besides there that strange white stuff on the ground but if it doesn’t get to hot there you could grow Lettuce, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage and other things that we grow here in Calli during the winter. The morning sun would be perfect.
Good Luck

Submitted by Lex on

That's going to be a tall order. The four hours of sun is doable, but none in the morning could well mean fighting molds, mildews, and the like.

As said above, you can try cold season crops there. They may be slower than they would be elsewhere but if they don't succumb to pathogens and/or deer, they'll probably produce a harvest. This may also be a good location for some raspberries or a fruit producing bush. I have a currant bush in the shadiest part of my yard that has flourished, if not necessarily produced to maximum yield. A shrub may, however, fight with the fungi too.

For the deer, i've seen every product and explored every home remedy. Aside from a very tall fence, there's not a silver bullet i know and urban/suburban deer are the hardest because most of the scent based solutions are ignored by animals conditioned to the odd smells of humans.

For scent based products, rotate them regularly. Even lion piss won't deter them once they figure out that there isn't a lion. Some products can be put directly on the plants, but these are often blood based and make your veggies look like a crime scene. People report some success with the fertilizers made from municipal sewage plants. Don't fertilize with them, put them in a thick band around the area.

If i'm gauging the height of your poles, strings above the low fence might not be high enough. You may, however, be able to add or lash some taller stakes to them. If you go the string route, you should add glittery/reflective bits and noise makers to it. Whatever you have: strips of shiny metal, bells, metal bits that will clang together when the string moves.

With no new poles, you'll be forced to the scent method for a new bed. So this might weigh in favor of planting raspberries or something that can take care of itself. You may also try planting some perennial ornamentals as easy fair for the deer in contrast to your defended turf. Hostas in that area would do, and probably survive some munching. Foxglove is the only plant repellent that really works, and that's because they know it will kill them. Not sure you have enough light to guard the bed with Foxglove and the deer might just trample it anyhow.

Take notes, use a calendar, etc. because the problem isn't going to go away. You'll need to track experiments and results year-to-year.

Submitted by lambert on

We don't have many deer on my side of the river so maybe I don't have to go DEFCON V. I don't want to go the piss route because whenever it rains I'll have to go out there and add more, and I'm too lazy to do that. The Foxglove solution sounds really good, and apparently they tolerate shade. I might think of guarding beds with them? They left the squash and the tomatoes alone, but destroyed a pepper bed.

On the nets.... The fishing line concept is attested to up here. Are you guys 100% certain on the fences? I really like an open feel.... Also how about motion detector-type solutions, and what about light?

NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

Foxglove will grow OK in shady areas. It's biennial, so you won't get flowers the first year. Self-sows readily. Deer in the NW do not avoid areas with foxglove -- it grows all over in semi-open woodland areas, right next to tasty deer browse such as thimbleberries and salmonberries. Foxglove does contain digitalis, so it slows and strengthens the heartbeat -- if taken in just the right amount. Slugs seem to be impervious to digitalis...(do they have hearts?).

4 hrs of sun should be enough for salad greens. Potatoes? I doubt it's enough for good-tasting berries or fruit.

More posts = more work? lambert, gardening is work some of the time, ya can't get away from it!

How to motivate yourself to walk down there more often....stash the beer there.