The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back
Whitetail deer have been an issue since we started farming vegetables. In the beginning they liked to eat peas and pumpkins. Knowing their preference for these crops we began planting those close to the barn or the road. These ideas helped but we always had some loss. Last year seemed exceptionally bad and we had serious losses and damage.
Off to a Good Start
This year we seemed to be off to a good start until last weekend. Those darn deer ate almost a whole bed of gold beets; a bed meaning rows upon rows not just a stretch of one row. They have good taste, I know! They pulled out the beets from the ground and nibbled only the beets; leaving a trail of destruction – partially eaten beets, greens, and torn up plastic. This all happened over the weekend and enough was enough.
What We Did About it
Monday I went to tractor supply with a headache but no plan, well maybe a little internet research, and left the store with what I thought I needed. 7 foot t-posts, poly wire, insulations, solar fence charger, and miscellaneous goodies. The final product was a 6 foot tall electric fence with 4 wires spaced 18 inches apart. And boy golly, it worked!!! So, the next day after another (fairly expensive!) trip to tractor supply we had one more field fenced in.
We are already seeing almost double the production of zucchini and summer squash. Hopefully next week after the heat wave leaves we can fence in the last big field and be deer free.
You may ask yourself why don’t they just hunt the deer in the fall? We tried that with several groups hunters during the entire Fall season. The deer are very smart, sleeping & limiting their movement during the day and foraging at night. If there is a little snow cover, a clear sky with moonlight the deer manage to find their daily ration just fine. I talked with the DEC about permits but I needed results fast.
I hope that the deer get the message, move on to easier picking in another area and don’t come back!
In positive, profitable news – we did harvest some new and exciting crops this week. We dug the first new potatoes and boy do they look nice. Planting them on plastic really paid off and I know I’ll be doing that next year. Also available are cucumbers and pickles, greens beans, fava beans, and larger sweet onions are coming in too.
The Current List of What is Available
Zucchini and summer squash
Cucumbers (slicing and pickling)
Peas (shelling and sugar snap)
Beans (green, Italian Flat, fava)
Bunched beets (red and hopefully the return of gold)
Shoots and microgreens
Free Range Eggs (chicken & duck)
Red Jacket juices