Saturday, June 13, 2009

Garden Apocalypse

My name is Dale Johnson and Jon ask me if I would like to contribute to this “Grow It! Eat it!” blog. I jumped at the chance because I love gardening. I am not a Master Gardener (I will be some day) but each year I learn more and I would love to share my experiences – both successes and failures. I also have chickens - layers and broilers - which are a great complement to gardens and I might occasional sneak in an article on them. After all, I grow and eat them too!

I will start off my blogs with both a success and a disaster. My family is proud of our garden. It is productive and beautiful. We were bloated with spring crops – salads, cooking greens, onion, broccoli, cabbage, etc. Our summer crops reach for the sun promising tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, and squash. It all came crashing down last week. Much of it was eaten to the ground. Particularly distressing was the damage to the peas. We were just starting to harvest them. We only got a couple of bowls full from gleaning the remnants.

The culprit? Deer. The herd that roams our neighborhood has never bothered us before. We thought the deer were afraid of the horses in pastures that surround the garden. Not so. It’s more likely that our old Labrador retriever that died last fall did her job and chased them off in previous years. The family is lobbying for a new dog but until I give in we have baited and charged the garden fence. We painted a peanut butter/vegetable oil mixture at intervals on the polywire rope. When the deer go up to check it out, they get a 4000 volt jolt in the nose or tongue. I get satisfaction just thinking about it. For more information on deer control see: http://extension.umd.edu/publications/PDFs/EB354-C.pdf

I am optimistic that our garden will rise from this apocalypse. I will eat tomato and cucumber salad, green beans with bacon, and squash frittata. We will have a successful garden in 2009.




Peanut butter/vegetable oil deer attractant on polywire rope.
Notice the bare wires that carry a 4000 volt charge.

5 comments:

  1. Dale,
    Awesome post! Especially love the video. I'm getting ready to put up my own electrified fence. Was concerned it would be too unattractive in my suburban yard until I saw yours. Do you have a solar charger and what is it mounted on?
    Thanks,
    Ria

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  3. Ria,

    One strand is all you need so it not as unattractive as a bunch of vegetables that have been topped by the deer. Of course, it doesn't help against rabbits. We have had rabbits but they aren't as destructive as deer. We have an AC charger (plug in) They are alot cheaper than solar chargers. Our charger is mounted in our chicken coop and the wires run 6 inches underground to the electric fence. If there are children around, make sure you warn them about the electic fence. Put a yellow warning sign on the fence.

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  4. Dale,
    Loved getting a glimpse of your garden. I think every gardener in Maryland is interested in how to prevent deer damage so your post is really helpful. Hope the fence works. I wonder if any communities have ordinances against electric fences.
    Robin Hessey

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  5. why is the AC charger cheaper then the solar charger ? I assume you mean to operate the unit over time and just not initial purchase price.

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