Do deer eat melons and squash?

armymomma(CenTX 8)January 11, 2010

I have some large, south facing beds in front of my house which get shade from the intense Texas afternoon sun. I was thinking about putting in some squash plants and then running some melon amongst them. What are the chances the deer will eat them? I've read all sorts of tricks to keep them away, but I'm trying to avoid the stuff they like, just in case.

Thoughts on this appreciated!

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jerrytx(8B)

I've never heard of deer eating melons or squash, but if nothing else is available, it could start a new trend! Depends on how desperate (sp???) they get, I guess. I'm not sure that I would plant melons and squash close together! you may get something other than sweet melon out of the deal if they are close enough to get polinated by the same bee's/bugs. A dog would be a pretty good deterent! (for the deer, of course)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 8:37AM
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princealbert(Aransas Pass TX)

armymomma ,
If you live out near the Morgans Point area, those deer will eat any and everything including some of the toxic plants like Lantana.
PA

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 10:09AM
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allen_gw

Deer love watermelons, I know thet know when they are almost ripe I watched a doe eat 2 of mine

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 4:15PM
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armymomma(CenTX 8)

Princealbert, I live down the road from Morgan's Point, but not IN morgan's point. I've seen those deer in MPR, they will come up and eat from your hand!!! I guess I will just take my chances....maybe spray them with mint oil, I hear they don't like that :)

And as far as planting them close together, I thought it only mattered if I was saving seeds?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 11:01PM
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princealbert(Aransas Pass TX)

I am not certain about squash but I have experienced a watermellon tasting like a cantalope as a result of cross polination.
PA

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:48AM
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marlingardener

Armymomma,
The urban deer are so inbred and over-populated that almost anything is food for them.
Rosemary is a deterrent (notice I didn't say it absolutely repels deer) so If you want to put a rosemary bush or two around to protect your crops, it can't hurt.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 11:29AM
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princealbert(Aransas Pass TX)

Even the Morgans Point deer won't eat a Copper Daisey, and it makes a pretty flower.
pa

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 1:54PM
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armymomma(CenTX 8)

Thanks to both of you... I think I may just take my chances and plant them and put in some rosemary and other aromatic stuff. I'm actually going to try all the little tricks I've read (tying white swatches of material, hanging old CD's from string, putting a soda can with pebbles on a string to rattle, etc etc)

I'd be ok with them eating half and leaving me half, so we'll see ;)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 3:07PM
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texazgal(7/8)

Absolutely they will eat your melons and squash. Our deer have chewed on the tips of the Copper Canyon daisy in our yard, and I watched one take repeated bites from a Cenizia(sp) or Texas sage. First time ever seeing that. About the only safe bet is oleander.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 5:28PM
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princealbert(Aransas Pass TX)

I guess I'm lucky. My deer haven't touched the datura, Brugmansia,shell vines, and the sage in the front yard. They do love the the bird feeders, Hibiscus and rose of Sharons.

pa

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 12:38PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Those Rats in high heeled shoes, you know , the ones wearing the tiara and the entitlement complex ate all my squash and melons every time I planted them.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:52PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Armymom, NONE of those little tricks (lifeboy soap, swatches of human hair, predator urine, white swatches of cloth, rattles, motion activated sprinklers, hot pepper sauce, etc.) work for long or at all I'm sorry to say. I've tried just about all of them. They might have worked way back when deer were shy and scared of humans, but those days gone.

Some of the deer retardent scents (most of them smell like something dead) work only for a while, and have to be applied every couple of days or they will eat the new growth, plus they are not recommended for vegetable gardens.

I wonder if floating row covers would work? It's a light weight fabric that keeps insects out. Does anyone have any experience with that to keep deer away?

The only thing that will keep them out of the garden for sure is a high fence or a single wire of electric fence. The latter works amazingly well and is not that expensive or hard to install.

There is a plastic deer net you can buy and use bamboo or similar poles for a temporary fence, but it has to be tall and perhaps lean in so they won't try to jump over it.

Good luck with your garden! I hope you find a way to grow melons and squash. Keep us posted.

Here is a link that might be useful: About floating row covers ...

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 11:17PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I googled a question about whether floating row covers would keep deer out and there were a couple of hits that said they would.

One garden webber on the Heirloom Plant Forum said:

"My garden wouldn't SURVIVE without my floating row covers!!! They not only keep off insect pests, but also keep deer & groundhogs off my crops (& I have a groundhog hole right smack in the middle of the garden - lol)."

Here is a link that might be useful: More about floating row covers on GW ...

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 11:25PM
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armymomma(CenTX 8)

The only thing about fences, covers or the like is that these are in front of my house and I have a home owner's association. I think I might just give it a try, since all it will cost me is a few seeds and a bit of work. The worst thing that happens is that the deer get them! I just hate wasting space taht I could potentially be growing something yummy in. My husband says I need therapy as it's become an addiction for me LOL!!!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 9:32PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Many of us have been in that 12 step program for some time now.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 10:07PM
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texazgal(7/8)

There is some black plastic netting, sold to protect fruit from birds, but deer also can't get thru it and it is not very visible if you drape it right. The HOA might not notice it.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 9:47AM
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