While doing the evening watering, I had found an unpleasant surprise.
The larger of our Crespo squash vines got a substantial portion nibbled off!
Unlike the summer squash, these don’t have spines on them that would dissuade being eaten. I am guessing this was done by a deer, but I really have no way to know.
It was just part of the one plant that was eaten; the other is untouched. The nearby Montana Morado corn was also untouched, and I saw no damage in any of the garden beds on this side of the house.
When the watering was done, my daughter and I rigged up the last three hula hoops to make a “fence” around the mound. The ground is so hard, we couldn’t push anything into it, so we had to use the pointed metal bar we found, to make holes, like I did to drive in stakes for the summer squash. After setting up the open hula hoops around the mound, we threaded some aluminum tart pans onto twine and tied them between the hoops.
While watering the haskap bushes, near the tomato plants on the south side of the house, I noticed something else. The bed we planted the haskaps in have a lot of flowers that grow quite tall before producing bright yellow flowers. We’ve pulled them up around the haskaps, but at this stage, they are taller than the bushes.
Except for some of them.
A whole bunch of them at one end of the flower bed have lost their heads! Given the height, this had to have been doing by deer. Looking more closely, I saw or were missing their tops on the south side of the flower bed. Which means deer have used the path between the flower bed and the new tomato bed.
No tomatoes were damaged, though.
My daughter had watered the old kitchen garden, so before I went inside, I decided to check it as well. I found more nibbled beets in the bed along the retaining wall. These area has different beets planted in sections, unlike the big bed where they are all mixed up. At one end is a type of beet that has lighter, all green leaves, without the red stalk and veins that the other types have. Only that one was nibbled on. There wasn’t a lot of damage, and I am wondering if maybe it was a skunk? It definitely wasn’t a deer, given the location and the netting nearby, and I would have expected the woodchuck to have done far more damage. There’s no way to tell.
At least the Epsom salt treated carrots nearby have no new damage to them.
The loan beet bed by the garlic was a concern for me. It’s recovering quite well from being thoroughly nibbled on by a deer. I trimmed the onion greens that surround the beets, so today I loosely laid the remaining piece of mosquito netting over it, like a row cover, with the short ends weighted down with some scrap boards. Hopefully, that will keep the deer out of it and the beets can continue to recover.
Thankfully, what damage we found this evening was relatively minor.
I’d much rather there was no damage at all, of course!
2 thoughts on “Some unexpected critter damage”
This one did quick research. 😀
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with open space, you also probably enjoy the presence of ample wildlife, including deer, squirrels and raccoons. All three of these animals will eat most produce from the vegetable garden, including butternut squash, pumpkins, corn and tomatoes. The most frustrating aspect of their nibbling is that they rarely consume a whole squash. Instead, they take a few bites before moving onto another fruit, potentially damaging the entire crop.
Barrier and Cultural Controls
In most cases, a multi-pronged approach is necessary to deter these furry visitors. First, fence your yard or your vegetable garden to make it less accessible. Fences to keep out deer should be at least 6 feet tall. Install motion-detector lights or sprinklers to startle marauding guests. Stretch flexible netting over your squash patch, or install hoop tunnels covered with netting or floating row covers. Make sure the netting is secured tightly to the ground so squirrels and raccoons can’t crawl underneath. If you don’t have a dog, consider getting one. Not only do they make great companions, but they can help keep wildlife out of your yard. Interplant your butternut squash with herbs known to repel deer, including chives, garlic and thyme.
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It’s looking more and more like the most efficient thing for us to do is get a dog. We’re doing a few of the things listed, while other – like the fencing – is not an option right now.
While going through the seed catalogs, we’ve been making lists of plants that repel deer. They don’t tend to label things as repellant to groundhogs, though!
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