Raise your hand if deer like to graze in your garden. How many different tactics have you tried to protect your plants? Have you tried hanging bars of soap from tree limbs, sprayed predator urine or scattered human hair around flower beds?
While these inventive measures may work temporarily, a long term solution requires a holistic approach. First, you have to give up the idea that you are ever going to deer proof your garden. Unless you build a 7-foot tall fence around your place, there’s not much you can do to keep them out. Next, make your garden less appealing to deer. Stop planting their favorites like tulips, roses and hostas and choose plants that deer are less inclined to eat. A few plant characteristics to look out for are fuzzy foliage, an antiseptic aroma and a bad taste.
Are there plants that are 100 percent deer resistant? No. The truth is that deer will eat anything when food is scarce, but if your garden is filled with plants that deer find unpleasant, there is a good chance they will move on to the delicacies in your neighbor’s yard.
Those of you who have a problem with deer might be surprised to learn that they are actually quite particular about something. That something is where bucks like to rub their antlers to remove the velvet. It seems they are especially fond of young, soft barked trees because their antlers are hyper sensitive when the velvet is shedding. Who knew?!
The deer at the farm have been considerate neighbors, but in late spring the heritage apple orchard turned into a popular "rub spot" for bucks. While this gives me something to watch as I sit on the porch, it's not a form of entertainment I enjoy because it strips the trees of their bark. No good.
The young bucks affection for our apple trees coupled with a terribly dry summer resulted in the loss of several trees and those that survived produced a paltry number of apples. It's a disappointment, but the garden is a great teacher in rolling with the punches.
If you are having a better apple year than I am I suggest making this rustic apple tart. I made it last weekend with some apples I picked up at the grocery store. I can only imagine how delicious it would be with homegrown fruits. You'll have to try it and let me know!
- ½ cup apple juice
- 3 cups thinly sliced apples (choose a tart variety)
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup agave syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 premade piecrusts
Pour the apple juice into a sauce pan and heat until reduced by half.
In a large bowl combine the apple juice, apples, brown sugar, agave syrup, salt and cinnamon. Toss until the apples are well coated.
Lay one pie crust on a greased cookie sheet and crimp the edges to form a lip.
Spread the apple mixture evenly over the pie crust.
Top with a second pie crust. Pinch the edges to seal.
Sprinkle the top with sugar and cinnamon. Pierce with a fork to make vents.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden and the juices are bubbly.