Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You say repellant, I say eau de parfum

I've written about my fabulous new flower garden that was the birthday present from my green-thumbed friend Andrea. It's filling in so nicely, I'll post another picture in a week or two or when the sun comes out, whatever comes first.

There is actually another garden that I'm cultivating too, a raised bed at the front of the house that was filled with flowering bushes when we first moved in. About three years ago the girls and I made our first tentative attempt at vegetable gardening, ripping out a bush and putting in a tomato plant, and voila! Maddy's love of tomatoes was born. Anxious to underpin ANY broadening of her palate, we have added a few things each year.

Finally this year enough was enough, and we ripped out EVERYTHING from the bed, including daffodil bulbs, that wasn't vegetables. I amended the soil a bunch and by the end of April we had a nice neat bed going: tomatoes, beans, carrots, basil, artichokes, sunflower, strawberries, and squash, plus a bunch of other random pretty herbs.

Things were going along swimmingly until Saturday morning, when we awoke to find that some creature had eaten: tomatoes, beans, and squash. All gone, down to their little stubs. Agh! Ran up to Thornhill Nursery and described the damage, and the diagnosis was deer. We may live in the mean streets of Oakland, but it's deer paradise as any rose grower will tell you.

Rather than buying the 8-foot long "lodge poles" and deer netting which would have required a whole lot of money and talent we don't have, we went for "Deer Scram." This is a powdery substance that looks like dirt but contains blood, bone meal, garlic and cloves. Stinky and gross, the theory is that it activates the deer's instinct to not eat in an area where something has died. We shook a huge border of the stuff around the garden and so far, the deer have stayed away.

The problem is, of course, the dog. He is entirely unable to resist it..if the front door is open even a crack he races to the garden and starts gobbling as fast as he can, and then sneezing as the garlic and cloves hit him. So in order to keep the veggies safe from deer, we are basically supplying our dog with free crack cocaine.

Anyone have any bright ideas on a happy medium?

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