If you have tried to raise vegetables in your yard, chances are you’ve had one of those mornings where you wander outside to check on its progress–excited that the tomatoes are bearing fruit and the squash are starting to produce–and you discover something beat you to the harvest. The green tomato, just starting to turn red, has been gnawed, or your cucumbers have been trampled in the night, or your entire corn crop is missing. The horror! Such a feeling of violation. You try to calm yourself, and appreciate nature and the circle of life and all that, but deep down you just want to cry. And secretly, you consider, for the first time in your life, the possibility of gun ownership. No more weeping over Bambi. This is war. (Yes, those are my tomato plants, which were reaching for the sky, nearly four feet tall, and now they have been reduced to nubby stalks. Hoof prints all over the place.)
The worst part is I have no one to blame but myself. I’ve been here before. I live blocks from an open space (wilderness park); we want all that wildlife nearby. If you are dumb enough to grow vegetables in your front yard, of course they will think it’s for them. Is something the matter with me that I keep trying? Maybe. Just to torture myself, I took a quick inventory of my veggie growing investment: about $200 for block to build my 30-square-foot planter; another $150 to fill with dirt; another $100 in seedlings, seeds, fertilizer, drip irrigation–and I’m almost up to $500. Bounty so far (and this is one of my most successful gardens yet): about 6 yellow squash, 5 zuccini and 7 small tomatoes. The summer is young, and if I can keep those @#%^)*#$% deer away, I could fill a large basket with more of the same, plus some eggplant, carrots, and herbs. Okay, that’s enough number crunching. Back to the deer. I went online for help. People recommended soap as a deterrent, so I smeared three bars of Irish Spring around. My garden now smells like a men’s shower. And the deer came back anyway.
But today, my new garden messiah arrived in a little box. It’s called The Scarecrow. Got great reviews on Amazon. Fifty bucks. Just add that to the garden tab, thank you. Basically, it’s a motion detector attached to a sprinkler. The idea is that the deer walk up to my garden, trigger the motion detector, and BAM, water shoots out at them, and if I get my money’s worth, scares the bejesus out of them, and they leap and scream and totally freak out and run away and NEVER EVER COME BACK. It plugs into your garden hose. Needless to say, I got soaked trying to set it up.
Here he is, ready for action. (So much for natural garden aesthetics.) The sprinkler came with decals to put on that scary face, and they say in the directions that the yellow eyes can scare away small birds. Yea, right. It’s hard to even imagine what my neighbors think of me at this point. But I don’t care. I’m in way too deep now, and there’s no turning back.
It’s time to hit the hay. I’m nervous about how it will all turn out. Will it work? Or will I wake up to another devastating loss? Who knew growing vegetables could be so intense. I would really love to see the reaction of the deer. I don’t mean to hurt them (although I’m getting close), but I might have to invest in a night vision camera to catch the action! Just add it to my tab!
UPDATE: Following morning. No damage. But not sure if the Scarecrow worked or the (fabulous!) freak summer downpour kept them away last night. My husband says I should try deer netting (I think he feels sorry for me.) Anyone tried that?
Will keep you posted.