Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wildlife Scores Again

When you have done your best for a flower, and it fails, you have some reason to be aggrieved. ~Frank Swinnerton

DD went outside to harvest pea pods yesterday and came in sobbing like her dog had been run over. Turned out, once I calmed her down enough to talk, that deer had eaten her yellow heritage tomato plants down to the ground. I decided to go see if she was exaggerating.

She wasn't.

And not only had they eaten her two plants, but the topped ALL our tomatoes -- took off a good 12 - 18" off every single plant (except my heritage plants which were significantly smaller than my DD's and apparently beneath notice). They also helped themselves to our green beans and about half the baby apples on our tree.

To top it off, they also grazed in my front yard, and ate the tops (ergo the buds and flowers) off of my snapdragons, liatris and columbine (this is supposedly deer resistant, but apparently MY deer didn't read the memo as they ate it nearly to the ground).

Normally I use a fertilizer called Milorganite to keep deer away. I sprinkle it everywhere and it STINKS. It's actually made from human waste and I've found it works better than anything else including various predator urines... or it would if it hadn't been raining constantly. See... we've had rain again for two solid days (and you remember the 23 days of rain in June, right), so everything I put down is washed away. And short of living outside to shoo them off, there really is little else I can do. I can't put a twelve foot fence all the way around my property.

AND... I've discovered it's not voles but chipmunks that are digging up all the bulbs in my gardens.

It's discouraging, to say the least. We won't talk about how the squirrels are able to eat on my squirrel resistant feeder... no, we won't do that.

I spent time yesterday considering a plan of attack. If the blasted rain would stop, milorganite in the veggie garden would work, but to be honest, I don't think DD's tomatoes will bounce back in time to produce fruit, and that breaks my heart.

I've researched various deer resistant flowers and bulbs, and will be completely redoing the garden in the front. Again. It's the garden the voles decimated last year. And, actually, I'll be paring down what gardens I have and planting grass, which breaks my heart.

But short of killing every living creature in my yard (who would only be replaced by more anyway -- even if I belived that was an option) there's really not much else I can do.


There is something to be said about city living. At least you don't have to battle the wildlife.



Maria Zannini said...

Oh my gosh! I'd be pulling out my hair.

Greg likes the deer to come over to our place on our ranch in SE Texas because he's not growing anything. He wants to give them sanctuary--especially during hunting season.

But they are deer-non-grata if they come up to our place in north Texas.

The owners before us must have had a problem because they very carefully planted a thick hedge of irises and roses around the garden. I found out later that deer avoid irises and roses.

Of course with your chipmunk problem the irises might not survive a season. but you can still try roses.

The only other alternative is to move. Yikes!

Dru said...

oh my, I feel for DD. I know how much she worked on her garden. Darn love them, but not at this time.

Did you buy that yankee something for the squirrels?

MomJane said...

I feel so badly for DD and you. I know how much you look forward to gardening each year.

I don't have deer and chipmunks. I have squirrels, bugs plus cats who dig up my flowers, using my small areas of dirt as their personal potty. Still better than all the wildlife you have.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

This could help, and yet it might not. We put our tomato plants in an upside down planter. Not one of those from TV. DH made a rack and plastic container system and did it himself. The tomatoes and peppers seem to be thriving and the deer don't seem to be annoying it.

But then again, there are pitfalls in city living. I missed seeing the stars in the sky.

Oh well.

anno said...

Oh, I'm so sorry -- for both of you!

The deer are pests, attractive nuisances. Even in the city (we lived near a river/wooded area), they would ramble into our yard and eat our bulbs; no chance for homegrown strawberries.

The more we garden, the greater my sympathies for Farmer MacGregor.

Melissa McClone said...

Oh, no. Give your dd a hug from me. That had to be devastating for her. So sorry about your garden.

Tori Lennox said...

Oh no! Hugs!!!

Brandy said...

So sorry to hear of the decimation of your Gardens. Hugs!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

We're a constant fastfood stop for deer. The only folks in our neighborhood who can grow anything have used electric fences or very high cyclone fences to enclose their gardens. I'm so sorry to hear what you've been going through.

Ceri Hebert said...

My mom didn't want to scare away "her" deer until she discovered our corn was slowly being consumed as were our tomato plants and brussel sprouts. Our first attempt at a veggie garden is not an overwhelming success. Guess we need a fence next year.

Anne-Kathrine said...

Oh Im so sorry! I know you both worked so hard to get the garden going. I hope you can find a solution!