Tag Archives: backyard garden

Dealing with Deer: Tips for Keeping Them Out of Your Garden

Deer are beautiful and amazing creatures that play a valuable role in our ecosystem. While it’s important to realize that we share this habitat with deer and many other creatures, it can still be incredibly frustrating to have them feasting on your hard work.

Fencing

Fencing is probably the best solution for keeping your plants safe from deer but it does come with a number of drawbacks. Fencing that is adequate and effective can be costly and time-consuming to install. It can also be unattractive which is a larger concern if you live in a neighborhood or more populated area.

Electric fencing is a good choice but it isn’t allowed everywhere and may be impractical for some gardeners. Another option is fencing that deer can’t see through. As a prey species, they’re hesitant to jump into an area if they can’t see what lies within. For the same reason, double fences (two rows of fencing) are often effective. Deer won’t risk being trapped in between fencing even if they can jump that height. You can use more attractive fencing for the outer layer and cheaper fencing like chicken wire for the inner part.  

Many people use the “invisible” thin black plastic deer netting and find it cheap and effective. Unfortunately, this netting creates quite a bit of waste because it is plastic and isn’t made with longterm durability in mind. It can also be extremely harmful to other animals including birds, small mammals, snakes, and other amphibians which can become trapped or entangled in it while trying to move through your garden.

Sprinklers

In some cases, sprinklers on motion sensors have proven to be effective at scaring deer out of the garden. Not all sprinklers are created equal though, so be sure to check reviews and look for one with a strong, spray that will reach the edges of your garden.

Deer Repellent

Many companies offer deer repellent sprays that can be effective at keeping deer from eating your plants. Unfortunately, they don’t work long term and will need to re-applied many times throughout the season especially if it rains or your use overhead watering. It’s also worth noting that most of the effective ones are egg-based and you can create your own at home with eggs, water, and a spray bottle.

Deer Resistant Crops

If you cannot add fencing or other deer deterrents to your yard whether you’re dealing with an HOA or local zoning laws or simply because of time or financial constraints there are some “deer-resistant” plants you should be able to grow without too much trouble.

Vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Rhubarb
  • Eggplant
  • Artichoke

Herbs

  • Lemon Balm
  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Fennel
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Catnip
  • Anise Hyssop

Flowers

  • Poppies
  • Marigolds
  • Lavender
  • Yarrow
  • Calendula
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Daffodils
  • Bee Balm
  • Bachelor’s Buttons
  • Zinnias

Some plants will also yield decent harvests when grown in containers on a porch or patio where a small bit of fencing can easily keep them out of deer’s reach. Try growing lettuce, cherry tomatoes, peppers, or swiss chard in pots.

Every gardener faces their own set of challenges. If keeping the deer from eating all your plants has been a problem for you in past years implementing a couple of these ideas can help protect your garden this year.

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Efficient Gardening: Where to Spend Your Time & Money

In today’s busy world it can be tough to keep up with a garden. Those with hectic family and work lives may find it difficult to grow even a small vegetable patch. While you can’t have a garden without any work at all these tips can help you spend your time and money efficiently.

Time

If you only have an hour per week to dedicate to your garden try to break it up over the week. Spending a few minutes each day keeping up with weeds while they’re small and harvesting what’s ready each day is more effective than a larger chunk of time one day per week. Tending to your garden throughout the week also allows you to monitor and stay on top of any pest and disease issues.

If you’re really pressed for time but still want to grow some of your own food consider crops that are low maintanence. For example green beans are easy to grow but require you to harvest nearly every day during their season. If you don’t have the time you could instead use the space to plant dry beans, flour corn, or winter squash which only require a one time harvest.

Try different methods of preservation and find one that works best for you. Don’t feel like breaking out the pressure canner? Try pickling, fermenting, dehydrating, or freezing a crop.

Alternatively wholesale planters small successions of crops so you never have more than you can use fresh or things that can be stored without preserving like winter squash, garlic, onions, and potatoes.

Spending time mulching your garden at the beginning of the season can save you from spending as much time weeding later. You can also try cover crops for preventing weeds.

Mulch Ado…

You should also trellis crops that need it at the begginning of the year. Having better and easier harvests is worth the effort upfront.

Money

Plant perennials. Hardy perennials like chives, mint, walking onions, rhubarb, and aspargus provide food year after year with little effort.

Invest in a few quality pieces of time saving equipment. Your tool shed doesn’t need to look like you’re a market gardener but you should have a few good tools to help you make the most of your time. I’ve found that a push seeder and stirrup hoe or wheel hoe (depending on your garden size) are worth the money for the amount of time they save.

Another piece you may consider investing in is drip irrigation especially if you pay for or have limited water. It requires time and money during the beginning of season to get it set up but then makes watering a breeze. It also saves water.

Buying good quality seeds or starts is also important. You should look for seeds and plants that are well suited to your needs and climate. If you’re growing your own starts doing it properly to ensure you get healthy starts is of course worth the time and money. Check out our seed starting guide for advice.

Finally to save both time and money consider sharing your garden with a friend or neighbor. As the saying goes, many hands make light work!

The Potager Garden

A potager or kitchen garden is essentially just a backyard, family, garden. However they typically include a mixture of vegetables, herbs, and ornamental plants. While tidy rows may be the most practical for a market gardener you don’t necessarily have to go that route for a kitchen garden, adding a filter water in your kitchen garden, follow myhomewaterfilter.com. Picture cabbages, chard, and thyme tucked in between rose daffodils and roses. They’re the ultimate blend of practicality and beauty.

Benefits of a Potager

  • Including a blend of different plants helps make potagers pest and disease resistant.
  • They’re gorgeous! Potager gardens aim to nourish both body and soul.
  • You can make the most of a small space. They don’t need a specific size or layout, just work with what you’ve got.
  • They’re easy to maintain because they often shade out weeds once the season gets going and quite often contain hardy perennials.
  • They help attract pollinators, birds, and beneficial insects. Having a variety of plants and structure makes your garden more appealing to these wonderful creatures.

Design

Making a potager of your own is quite simple. If it’s an option you probably want it located close to your house so you have easy access for harvest and enjoyment. Then you can simply start adding your favorite plants!

For an interesting look it’s a good idea to blend plants of different heights, colors, and textures. You can also add texture by adding wood or stone raised beds, old iron gates, trellises, terracotta pots and other gardening materials.

Adding Perennials

You may also want to add a variety of perennials. Just keep in mind that some perennials like mint and lemon balm can spread easily and take over entire beds when left unchecked. Fruit like strawberries, raspberries, and currants are great additions. There’s nothing like walting through your garden and enjoying a few freshly picked berries! If you have enough space you can even add fruit trees. You can choose dwarf varieties or espalier (train a tree to a fence or wall) a tree to save space.

Permantent Features

Another important feature of most potagers is permanent pathways. This allows you to easily stroll through your garden and harvest and enjoy your plants. Permanent pathways also keeps you from having to stand in actual growing areas and compacting the soil.

You may also want to consider adding a picnic table or some seating to you potager. Homegrown meals are extra special when enjoying amongst the flowers.

Large gardens filled with rows of vegetable crops certaintly are productive and have their place. However you shouldn’t forget that part of the reason to have a garden is simply to enjoy it. Creating a potager close to your home can help you grow and eat more vegetables and give you a lovely place to relax.