When most people think of deer, rabbits, and groundhogs they often think of their adorableness. As a farmer, I can only agree with that opinion some of the time. Mammals may be cuter than insects, but they certainly can take a toll on your garden. Here at the farm, we are not short on warm-blooded critters. There are groundhogs, mice, and voles that live in our fields. Deer and bird that migrate through the area, and a whole bunch of rabbits dwelling in the surrounding habitats. You don't always see them during the day, but you sure see the remnants of their voracious appetites. They'll munch a whole head of lettuce and snatch your last radish. They're ruthless! We find ourselves cleaning up after them, and out of luck more often than we would like. After talking to community members at the farmers market, it seems to be a common problem. When it comes to these pests, it almost impossible to take back what was lost, but prevention can give you a leg up.
Vegetables/ Herbs Deer Do Not Like: tomatoes, peppers, carrot roots, eggplant, asparagus, leeks and globe artichokes. Herbs usually safe from foraging deer are mint, chives, dill, lavender, sage, thyme, parsley, tarragon and rosemary.
Possible Prevention Solutions: 1) One option is to cover or wrap the plants with garden fabric. This is a quick and easy way to protect an entire bed of salad greens or an area of newly planted broccoli. Be sure that the fabric gets securely anchored on all four sides. 2) Using a fence to keep out larger critters. If you live in an area that allows fences, this may be one of the best tactics to keep these pests out of the garden. 3) Planting marigolds is also an effective way to keep rabbits away from flowerbeds in some areas 4) Plant perennials and some annuals, such as Zinnias, that rabbits don’t like. Rabbits have sensitive noses. Plants with a strong scent, especially those that have an earthy, herbaceous aroma often don’t pass the rabbit smell test. 5) Planting flowering herbs within your garden like lavender, penstemon, hyssop, sages, shasta daisy, gaillardia, common butterfly bush, blue mist spirea, and columbine can help to repel these critters. 6) Clean your garden of any debris (excess brush, large stones, and so on) that might encourage rabbits to hide. If they don’t feel safe, the rabbits won’t take the chance. 7) Trapping and releasing a few miles away from your garden can also be an effective deterrent. 8) Treating your garden with coyote urine, Tabasco sauce, or scattering about human hair can interfere with groundhog munching if you have a limited infestation.