as the soil is workable. And then if it doesn't get too windy back to putting on the greenhouse roof.
I am glad you can work your soil. Mine is still too wet, and if I dont find a way to get rid of the deer it will just be a waste of time to plant anything. This is my 5th year here and no deer problem til I planted a cover crop. The yard and garden are just torn up with deer tracks.
I'm glad you're getting to work outside in the garden today.
It is hot and very windy here today and we're still too wet, but are soil is drying and may be workable in another couple of days.
The deer probably are coming to your yard because your cover crop is the best thing available right now. If you were a deer, wouldn't you want to eat it instead of old, dry, dormant vegetation or whatever acorns you could find lying on the ground? Our deer feeding area and all the trails that lead from it to the woods and to the big pond are torn up with deer tracks like your yard and garden, but that's pretty typical in the winter.
If your deer have plentiful sources of natural food available, they may not be a problem for your garden once winter passes and they have a better natural food supply available. We have a lot of highly visible deer in our yard in the winter and deer tracks everywhere, but the deer are much less visible and just aren't around as much when they have more food sources in the warmer part of the year.
I gardened pretty successfully with only a low garden fence for about 5 years, and then the deer, for whatever reason, started jumpng the 3' fence and we had to put up a 7' fence.
I love having the deer around, but not when they're eating my veggies, fruit or ornamentals. They will eat things in the winter and in a dry, drought year that they normally don't bother.
If they keep coming around, fencing or a dog that stays outside at night (if that's safe in your neck of the woods) work best. The deer here at our house are not repelled by the many commercial and homemade deer repellents, but they're terrified of our dogs, and even of a couple of our more aggressive cats.
Dawn, I bought some rebar today to use with an electric fence(I can always use rebar). I also bought a motion detector light( I needed one anyway) to use to hook up to one of my drill motors with a piece chain in it to make a noise, hopefully to scare the deer, it may work for a time or two.
I really dont want to build a fence because they are too hard to clean around. If I have to build a fence I would like to build one I can take down and reinstall easily.
I cant have an outside dog here because of a busy hwy. The dog we have acts like he wants to kill everything, but will run from a grasshopper or frog. We have a little yorky that is more bark than bite.
Larry, that is what happened to us many years ago. We planted winter rye and wheat for a cover crop and the deer mowed it down, and then in spring they mowed down the lettuce and beans. So we quit putting in a cover crop. Most years we till the garden in late fall or early winter, not this close to spring, and that discourages them. This year we didn't get it done and the winter weeds grew up, and the kale and spinach were still standing and in they came again. Deer will eat chickweed, but they really like strawberry tops. We have two outdoor dogs and early one morning a couple years ago, the young border collie mix took down a buck fawn inside the garden and injured it. I made him release it and for a long time they didn't come in, but now they are back. So tilling the garden isn't only to get it ready to plant but to discourage the deer.
Dawn, we may have to resort to building a taller fence too, but hate to have to spend the money. Can't afford to raise veggies for deer though.
Dorothy, You are getting way ahead of me and this weather could drive one crazy. Today I had the sunroof open and was still burning up, so I finally gave up and turned on the air conditioner. I came around the corner into my neighborhood and could see at least a foot of snow in the ditch along the roadway. The trees had kept it from getting sun so it still hasn't melted. I have to admit that I felt a little stupid driving with the air on, and looking out the window at snow. I only have a few spots left in my yard, but we are still very muddy.
I planted one flat of tomatoes and had planned to keep it warm and sprout it fast. However, my friend died and her family has come to town for the funeral and part of them are staying in the room where my plant shelves are. I just left the flat on the shelves with no lights and no additional heat and hoped they didn't sprout soon. I think some will probably sprout by tomorrow and then lights and guests will have to share the same space. They are mostly there at night, and I don't need the lights on at night, so I think I can make it work, but I was glad that I hadn't planted heavy yet. On Wednesday, I will begin planting in a big way. We have been extremely busy this week so I have been grateful not to have young plants to tend.
I hope the electric fence works for you and keeps the deer out.
Here where we live, electric fences are not as successful as you'd think they would be. I think it is because we have "country deer" who roam the many ranches where electric fences often are used to subdivide pastures for rotational cattle grazing. The deer are masters at going over, under and between strands unless the strands are fairly close to one another...the same way they seem to glide in between strands of barbed wire fences without hurting themselves. It amazes me how smart the deer are and how they are able to circumvent many fences meant to keep them out.
Dorothy, Putting up the taller fence was a huge project, but we tried to do it in the most economical way possible. Since we already had a 3' tall woven wire fence with T-posts, we put in electrical conduit tubing for 8' tall poles, sinking them into the ground right by each T-post and wiring them to the T-posts for added stablity. Then, we just added 4' chicken wire. and made sure to wire the botton of the chicken wire to the top of the woven wire so the deer couldn't push their way through. I was worried it wouldn't keep the deer out because the electrical conduit and chicken wire seems flimsy to me compared to the T-posts and woven wire, but it has worked. The fence's effect might be more psychological than physical....I think they could jump in or breach it if they believed they could!
I think this will be about our 3rd or 4th year with the taller fence and the deer never have breached it from the outside. Once, I left the gate open and 4 of them entered it through the entry arbor. Unfortunately they still were in the garden when I came outside, and went into a panic running all over the garden trampling things, even though I immedately went back inside and they could have exited through the gate. They did breach the fence from inside in their panic to get out, bending some of the conduit and chicken wire, which we simply straightened out, and I never left the gate open again during gardening season!
Larry what about deer netting stretched between t posts? The netting is fairly cheap and you could probably roll it up pretty easily when you need to clean up.
Thanks, I will check into the netting. The first thing I will try is electric fence because I already two chargers and a roll of wire.
Dorothy, it you already have "T" post in the ground you can cut a short piece of 1/2" PVC and tie to the top of the "T" post and then drop in a piece of 1/2" rebar to make the post taller. I use a 5 or 6 inch long PVC and drill a hole through the bottom to run a wire through so the rebar wont drop through, the wrap the wire around the PVC and post and tie. I make my tomato trellis like this and use to have electric fence much like this. On my old fence the top strands were just binder twine, but I guess the deer though they were hot just like the lower strands. I did get a lot of questions,"what you got that string so high for"?
This year I an going to try to drive 1/2" rebar into the ground and drop PVC over it. I will have to test this out to make sure that is the way to go. The charger I have that I like the best can burn through a plastic insulator if conditions are right( or wrong ).
we are building fence this weekend and i am going to roundup the weeds in the garden that are green.and get my tomato cages from last year out of there. then next week i am tilling. I ordered seeds today for corn and green beans. and watermelon and pumpkins for my kiddo she likes those.
I am going to get my cold crop plants from Frisbys again when they open mid march or go over and see if Joe will let me sneak into the greenhouse early.
I cant wait to walk in the Cold deep soil! Its heaven!!
Deer netting worked for us for about a month with Maddie's Peter Rabbit Garden last year and then the deer jumped right into the netting, pulling it off the poles. We put it back up. They pulled/pushed it off the poles again. We put it up again. That went on for a while, until we got tired of playing that game and took it down. We bought the lower-quality and less-expensive deer netting that you buy at places like Home Depot, Lowe's or Tractor Supply. It is no match for large deer running and plowing through it. We didn't try the much more expensive and higher quality heavy-duty deer netting available from some online fencing companies.
Interestingly, the deer never once breached that deer netting during the the daylight hours when they could see it, but did it at night at least a couple of times a week. I even tied white surveyor's tape and then Wal-Mart bags (so, yes, then it looked like the Redneck Peter Rabbit Garden) to the fence at about the same level a white-tail deer's tail would be to ensure they saw that white and knew something was there, but it didn't seem to work there, even though it had worked fine with the big garden's fence.
Your mileage may vary. It just depends on how aggressive your deer are about wanting into the garden. We have some very large and very "active" deer here, but they really don't bother our non-fenced areas very much, although they'll about kill themselves trying to get into the fenced spaces. I guess they've figured out "the good stuff" is inside the fence.
Larry, Our fire dept. has put out several fires started by electric fences, including house fires and barn fires where I guess the fence caught the grass on fire and then the grass fire spread to a barn, shop building or house literally before anyone even knew there was a fire. I had to laugh at your comment about the charger and the conditions being right (or wrong) because that's the kind of conversation we end up having with the person whose fence started the fire. Apparently those sorts of fires start more often than I realized because these folks generally aren't really surprised that it happened.
Way back years ago we had an electric fence and took it down because we had a couple fires. Fortunately they were just grass fires and we were home and got them put out quickly, but we were afraid to use them after that.
Thanks for the ideas for deer proof fence. We may end up doing it.
I planted a cover crop a few years ago, and it drew in rabbits. Lots of rabbits. They like to eat off newly sprouted vegetable crops. After that experience I decided not to plant a cover crop again.
A crazy idea I have had for keeping deer out of the garden is to put up several of those singing fish which were so popular some time ago. They have motion detectors built into them. Something about the idea of a deer walking by one of these things, it breaking out in song, and the likely response of the deer... Those of you who have had problems with deer in their garden can appreciate it I'm sure.
Okieman, if I knew for sure that it would work, I'd buy a dozen singing fish!!