The deer, having accidentally ripped through the flimsy deer netting I put up, have figured out that they’re capable of breaking through it, so it’s become useless. Many nights over the past couple weeks, I’ve had to run outside to chase deer out of the garden.
Earlier this summer, they’d torn down the netting in one corner, and I repaired it with sticks and wire.
After they started ripping down other parts, my first thought was to do the same there, and I spent a day working towards that.
But then I thought better of it. The nights are getting cold and our wood stove isn’t hooked up yet. Before I can hook it up, there are a bunch of other things I need to do to the house. I don’t have many nice days left to do so. The garden is pretty well done for the year anyway, and deer season for archers begins September 27th. Better, I think, to focus my attention on fixing the house (and practicing my marksmanship), and let the five deer who’ve been grazing here get fattened up cleaning out the old squash and tomato vines. The ODNR says I’m allowed to kill four of them this year. If I can do so, that will probably see us through the next year and then some as far as red meat is concerned.
Mayda’s been saying I should use welded wire to fence the garden. It would be effective, but it’s also a lot more expensive. If I don’t have the money for wire fence, I can set aside sticks for making the fence as I’m cutting firewood.
Having pretty much given up on the big garden for the year (other than planting garlic, which the deer have always ignored), we’re just gathering up what we can before the deer eat it, selling some of it to Mayda’s co-workers and their friends, and preserving the rest. [I notice they seem to be ignoring the tomatillos, too. Maybe it’s because those are planted closer to the house.] Last night, Mayda rigged up a large food dehydrator with some bread racks, window screen, a box fan, a few blocks of wood (to hold it up so air can blow underneath), and some craft paper to cover the sides. In the photo below, I’ve pulled down one of the paper “walls” so you can see inside. I’m drying tomatoes, peppers, and garlic (just for our own consumption, in case you’re reading, ODA/ODH/FCPH).
Fortunately, the front garden has been safe from the deer, so the Glass Gem corn and pole beans are still growing. (I did see corn smut growing on one plant earlier this year, so if anyone’s interested in huitlacoche, give me your contact info and I’ll get in touch with you if any more appears.) I’ll pull what’s left of the beets and carrots out there and plant some cool weather greens to eat through the winter.