16 March 2008

Got deer? Got bamboo?

Then sharpen the bamboo into spears and kill the deer! Or build a fence.

Deer have been stomping around our garlic patch and threatening to turn our tidy rows of bulbs into mush. We don't really want venison that's been raised on the neighbors' ChemLawn grass and Miracle Gro shrubbery, so we decided against the sharpened spears and went with a fence instead.

There is nothing the deer particularly want from the garlic garden—it just provides a convenient shortcut for them to take when they move from chewing off the tops of our blueberry bushes to rolling around on the herbs. Our fence basically needed to provide enough of a barrier that the deer would walk around the garden rather than through it, so we planned a fence that would be tall enough to keep them from jumping over it.

The first order of business was a trip to the bamboo forest.

Bamboo will be the first thing we plant at future house. We use it for practically every single garden project we do, and it's plentiful, cheap, and pretty. The above picture was taken yesterday—while the rest of the area is still in gray and brown winter mode, the bamboo is a nice cheery green, like it always is. We chopped down about a dozen tall pieces and dragged them over to the garlic, where we proceeded to attach 6-foot bamboo poles to metal stakes and pound them into the ground around the perimeter of the garden.

Then we took looong pieces of bamboo and tied them to the uprights, parallel to the ground, so they went the whole way around the garden (minus opening we left at one corner). We ended up with sort of a bamboo split-rail fence. For extra insurance we ran pieces of twine between the bamboo, so that the deer won't be tempted to climb through the gaps.

Now, let's hope it works.


mom said...

Clever! Mom

Anonymous said...

Very nice! I'll have to tell my little sis. She's starting a garden this year and deer and wild turkey are in her yard daily. How is your chicken doing? Better I hope!

CeeCee said...

As long as they aren't actually interested in something in your enclosure, you might do okay. The deer around here would just push right through the twine to get to yummy goodies; but you said they only trample around in your garden to get to somewhere else.
I wish you good luck. I've given up fighting my deer. The areas that are very important to me are surrounded by wrought iron fence and well within distance of my dogs. The rest of my bed areas are filled with things the deer won't eat.
Unfortunately, a good sturdy, high fence is the only thing that will keep them out. Expensive! Our deer regularly leap the neighbor's 3 rail fence (4ft high at the top) with a standing leap. That, or just duck under the bottom rail.
How is your little hen, btw?

Blue Fox said...

Apparently, deer won't jump two low fences (about 3-4' high) with a space in between. Sometimes this is easier to build than the 8' fences that you see around here. I'll have to try it sometime. I also use fishing net strung between trees, the best is if you leave a foot or two draping over the ground on the outside, as they don't like getting caught in things. However, if you have dogs that you want to keep in, this won't work as they push their way under it!

Meg said...

Happily, our chicken has recovered! The next day she seemed fine, and had even mustered enough strength to fly off the roost and into my head when I went to feed them in the morning.

CeeCee, I think the fact that they don't want the garlic will help us out ... we just need them not to trample it. The vegetable garden is another story, though. The fence around most of it is 7+ feet tall now, after they spend last summer jumping in and stealing our corn. I hate the deer!

Blue Fox, I'd never heard that about two low fences. Good to know ... it's not always practical to build a super high fence. Also, we may have to try your fishing line tactic. We have a few places where we don't have a high fence, but where they might be tempted to get up close to the fence and lean over to grab stuff.

I just stopped over at your blog, and I love that your dog keeps the deer away for you! We can't have a dog where we live now (we rent and the landlord isn't a dog fan), but in the future we'd like to get a farm dog to help keep other animals away from our vegetables.

Katie said...

I certainly hope the bamboo fence works out for you!

As a reformed bamboo disliker, I am now realizing how useful and pretty this grass really is....

Melinda said...

Oh my, I love our bamboo. Renewable poles and sticks - who knew they'd be so useful? Haven't done the spearing the deer thing, though. But I also never knew how amazing it is to listen to the rustling on a hot summer day - so soothing. I love it.

Twinville said...

Oooh! What a terrific idea! I wonder if bamboo would grow up here in our mountains (above 7,000 ft) and survive our winters?

I'd love to grow some.

Meg said...

Katie, I used to dislike it as well, but now I don't think we could be without.

Melinda, yep! We are constantly running to the bamboo patch to get poles for some project or another. Convenient!

Twinville, I bet you could get bamboo to grow where you're at. I don't know how southern Pennsylvania winters compare to your weather, but our bamboo survives just fine and doesn't seem to be negatively affected at all.