deer spring seedlings

  • Posted on: 18 February 2016
  • By: Previous Farm

by Chappell on our previous farm

the seed are all sorted and ready to go into soil. neat alphabetized lists have been compiled to keep us on track with everything to be planted in a timely fashion. our cold crops and slow germinators now fill numerous seeding trays with many, many more to complete. a small number of those already planted are popping up through the dirt. 

it's that time of year, when winter has not yet left us, but spring insinuates itself as our task master. so many seed to plant with so little time! the initial stage is always so orderly. i always strive to keep it that way, but the order soon gives way to chaos and, try as i might, i haven't found a way to stop or slow down the riotous cacophony that comes with life springing up all around us.
here in the holler the end of winter is signaled by a daily trek to the mail box, to see which seed or plants have arrived from the reputable companies whom we trust to do business with. every other day feels like christmas, with envelops filled with packets of open pollinated seed or an occasional exotic plant to pot up until it eventually goes into the perennial garden. 
gianni ordered a goji berry that he thought would rival the two that i've been nursing since the deer chewed them down to nubs the first year we planted them. while he was slightly disappointed, i'm happy to say at least one of the two i started from seed rivals the professional nursery's three year old plant considering the extent of devastation it suffered in being mauled . we're considering keeping all three of them in the greenhouse until such time as the deer will not be able to devastate them. but the question remains, will there ever be a time when the deer won't devastate them? 
we're thinking a lot about deer lately, as we are moving a good deal of production up on the hill this year. since it is so far removed from the greenhouse, the house, and lower gardens, they are certain to try to glean from all our hard work. like all of our experiments here, we're guessing at what will work. we've decided to plant on the hill those plants that the deer have left alone in the lower gardens in hopes that they will not appear more tasty to them when not in our immediate proximity. 
a seminar we watched tonight on wildlife pest management... taught us putting up an electric tape fence with peanut butter on the wire is actually effective in training deer to stay out. it supposedly deters about 85% of them from entering to forage. (if 10 deer want to forage, only 1 and half will probably enter to do so). that seems like pretty good odds, and should leave us with a greater share of food. the high tensile electric fence which is a perimeter fence to keep the free ranging cattle out is also said to be a good deterrent for deer which we never expected. so maybe, just maybe, we will be able to conserve most of the crops for ourselves and the market.
a list of some of our plants the deer have not eaten:
squash (all sorts) 
basil (tasted a small bit this year)
lemon balm
a good place to start research if you are dealing with wildlife "pests" is at this url: