Q: I've got deer and rabbits eating me out of house and home! What should I do?

A: For all land-bound pests, including rabbits and deer, fencing is the best option. The best time to erect a fence, though, is before the animals learn that you're cultivating tasty produce. Other controls give varying results. Some gardeners swear by them; others say they don't work at all. Pests faced with hunger and overpopulation are much more determined than ones that aren't, so deterrents will be less effective on desperate creatures. Nevertheless, try some of the following:

  • Hang bags of fragrant, heavily perfumed soap on stakes throughout your garden. (Place some close to the ground if you are trying to deter rabbits.) Leave paper wrappers in place and drill a hole through the bar. Mist the soap with water in early evening, just before deer begin to feed. Soap will keep pests at bay until they become accustomed to the fragrance.
  • Hang bags of human hair (you can collect this at beauty shops). Renew them frequently.
  • Combine 1/2 gallons/9.5 of water with six eggs (don't include shells, which will clog the sprayer), then spray the mixture around the perimeter of your garden. Humans won't be able to detect the smell of the rotting eggs, but deer will. Reapply after a rainfall.
  • Sprinkle a mix of half bone meal and half blood meal around plants (both of these substances are available at garden centers). Renew after a rainfall.
  • Put up lights or sprinklers that are activated by motion detectors also have been effective at controlling seer.
  • Caging individual plants or sections of your garden is quite effective. Try lightweight wood frames covered with chicken wire.

Find more gardening tips and ideas from Oprah.com's gardening club
Excerpted from The Veggie Gardener's Answer Book by Barbara W. Ellis. Copyright © 2008 by Barbara W. Ellis. Excerpted by permission of Storey Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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