It is done

rsquareJune 13, 2011

I had a pretty good season; with the exception of spider mites - that I finally was able to get under control. No sooner did things get better when the whitetails discovered my patch. Netting was put up; but, those wiley creatures found a way to get in each and every night. Last night was the last straw. Fruit that had set even in this hot central Texas weather are gone and I do not expect more to set now - plus many limbs are broken and torn. Gonna cut 'em back and wait for fall..... Sad! I guess I can't blame them, the tomatoes are the only green plants around with the drought going. This is the first time I have ever had to prune back and wait to see if I can get a fall grow out. Hope it works.

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:( I've just got decent sized greenies now. This is what makes me remember not to make me jealous of all of those awesome April pictures you zone 9 and 8ers put up.

so sad!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:31AM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Dang that's a bummer! When you say "whitetails", do you mean deer? When we were in our 5 - 7th years of drought, I lost 95% of my garden to deer 3 years in a row. My garden was on the route that the deer took daily from the hills and mountains south of us to the farm fields north of where we live. I think my garden was an appetizer or desert on their nightly treks to and from foraging corn and alfalfa fields.

What kind of netting were you using? We found that to really stop deer, it takes a 7 - 8 foot fence to really keep them out. Depending on the size of the area you need to protect, that can be a big chunk of change.

We're having a really wet spring this year, so I'm thinking wont get the deer trafic we've had in the dry years, plus we now have neighbors with dogs the size of small ponies (they've come around at night and killed all of my outdoor kitties, but that's another story). But if we do have a deer problem again, I'm considering a "wireless" deer fence. It's a lot less $$$ and if it works as advertised, it would be great.


Here is a link that might be useful: Wireless Deer Fencing

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 10:31AM
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I've heard of solar devices that emit high frequency noises, however such products are hard to license in certain states (like Colorado) and I'm not completely convinced they even work. We use a motion activated pulsating sprinklers called 'Scarecrows' and they work fantastically, and water shrubs and grass at the same time!


    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 10:52AM
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Yes, and yes. Deer, the bain of my gardening life. I tried the scarecrow thing a few years back. Didn't work. The population is just too high- explosive is a better description. People come over to visit and marvel at how pretty they are (and they are) but none of them have to live with them or have watched them eat thousands in greenery... And I am talking food crop, not landscaping. We had already planned an 8 foot fence to be constructed this fall when the weather cools some. They will be placed around raised beds as I live in an extremely limestone laden area. The netting was a 50/50 shot. I am leery of anything other than a true fence to keep the buggers out. I have tried to many "guaranteed" things. I have a pool too and it has become the herd's watering hole..... Betsy, I feel your pain....

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 4:44PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

So that means you are dinning on Venison ? and not tomatoes

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:14PM
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If Texas Parks and Wildlife would go for an out of season hunt, my freezer would be full this week and I would be enjoying chicken fried backstrap with sliced Black Krims on the side!!!! IF ONLY!!! I feel lucky for the crop I was able to harvest. There are lots of tomatoes in the freezer from this year and it is probably time for us to start eating something besides tomato sandwiches. :) (but it still hurts to see 'em gone).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:38PM
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Last year we had deer nip off the tops of a few corn plants, beans and cucumbers. The devastated the neighbors strawberry patch. Right after I tilled this year there were several fresh deer tracks through the garden for several weeks. I put up a third scarecrow this year. Two weeks ago I bought a jar of vicks vapor rub. I smeared a glob under the brim of the hats on the scarecrows and some on their cloth dresses for the past two weekends. I smeared the vicks under a couple tree limbs near the garden. No deer so far, fingers crossed. A $2 off brand jar will last me three weeks. I also put up a sign, 'ALL DEER WILL BE SHOT ON SIGHT'! LOL

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:59PM
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The Wireless Fence:

One of the "things" I do outside of growing and eating tomatoes is assist parrot owners with training techniques. Those techniques are grounded in the science of positive reinforcement training. I am sure you've heard of clicker training for dogs? Same thing. People tend to have issues with training parrots or addressing behavioral problems more than most other pet companions, because parrots are not domesticated. To make a long story short, a parrot/pet owner need a mode of communication that can be utilized to the benefit both the parrot/owner - one that builds an environment of trust and desired behavior. This mode of behavior shaping works with all animals including humans!

Now, to how this ties in to a tomato garden...

The deer fence uses what would be referred to as positive punishment (something that is added to the environment that reduces a behavior - i.e. The deer come into the garden, encounter shock, deer leaves and is UNLIKELY to return) . Under some circumstances, this would prove to be an effective tool - exploiting built in instinct of the deer to avoid the shock. But, there is an over-riding instinct that will trump all others so to speak when certain conditions arise and that is to survive and reproduce. In a case of drought, nothing short of a structurally sound fence will keep them away...they are starving and thirsty and regardless of how many times they have encountered the aversive (the shock) they will still attempt to eat and drink at all costs to survive.

I know this was long, but I think it is worth noting in most instances that you just can't over-ride mother nature's call when it comes to the instinct to survive and reproduce. A physical structure or barrier becomes the only real alternative when those environmental conditions (in my case drought with starving deer) or needs come in to play with wildlife.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Add some cyanide to the pool.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 5:37PM
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While I would love to be deer free, I think I might want to keep the grand-kids! No cyanide! LOL!!!!!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 9:06PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Well if you give them water and some food they will be like relatives, and you'll never get rid ,of 'em .

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 12:15AM
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Bets(z6A S ID)


Bummer. I should have realized that extreme hunger and the drive to survive would outweigh a little zap on the nose. I actually knew that but I guess I was subconciously ignoring it. *sigh*

On the positive side we are likely to have 2 - 3 more good water years due to La Nina. Plus we have had a couple of farms put in wells and pivots less than a quarter mile southwest of us and two across the road from us. So if we do have a dry year or six and I have nose ticklers around the garden, I think it might be likely that the acres of unprotected fields would be more attractive to a hungry deer than my gardens.

I guess I'll find out when the ENSO (El Nino/La Nina-Southern Oscillation) shifts back the other way.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 12:51PM
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When we lived in Idaho my husband would walk around at night and pee around everything we did not want eaten. He learned to have great control and they even left our apple trees alone. I know it sounds wierd but it really did work.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 6:09PM
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