The deer. They roam through our acreage, from one farmer's field to the other's, loving to stop for a snack in our summer garden. I wish they weren't so graceful and beautiful—the deer, I mean. It would be easier to despise them, the way I despise moose.
However, unlike the moose, who tend more to the destroying of young trees, the deer's tendency leans in the direction of the garden greens—and the tulips, and the roses. But I digress.
Someone enjoyed the chard; and it wasn't me.
Fact is, while little that's legal can be done to deter the moose from our young fruit trees and berry bushes (shrieking like a crazy woman and throwing potatoes doesn't work), I'm learning that the deer might be just a tad bit easier to manage. For one thing, they move on when the crazy lady shrieks and advances, and I've never had to waste a potato on them.
But what of their visits in the early morning hours? Or when crazy lady is away from home in the afternoon?
What then? WHAT THEN ?!!
Our pea support is made of chain-link fencing secured with re-bar. The pea vines grow, unhindered, till they reach the top of the support. At this point, the top two-thirds of the plants begin to put out blooms, at which point the deer begin to take notice of them (insert cry of despair, here!).
Last year I picked peas only twice; the sum total equaled two meals, and that for just the two of us!
I did the math: we could have just boiled and eaten the seed instead of planting it, and used that garden space for something the deer didn't want. Ah! Hindsight!
Despite an impasse, the reality of our green pea harvest this year suggests that I may be on to something; that I may have found the answer to my 'what then?' (insert happy dance, here!).
And the answer is. . .drum roll, please. . . NYLON GARDEN NETTING! The kind that's intended to keep birds off fruit trees. Apparently the deer don't like it any better than the birds do.
I draped it over the fence, letting it hang down loosely on either side (since I plant on both sides of the fence). And because it's got some stretch to it, I just pulled it tight along the top to hook it over the re-bar that stick up above the chain-link, and — VOILA! — that's all there was to it!
When the peas were ready to pick, the netting pulled up easily. The little tendrils that grow from the pea vine and wrap themselves around the netting snapped quickly enough and without any damage to peas or vines.
That said, however, I believe it might be rather important (I'm still learning, here) to wait with the netting until the peas reach mature height and actually begin to bloom, all the while praying that the deer will, in fact, wait for the blossoms before visiting the pea vines.
My theory is that, if the netting is put on too soon—like, while the vines are still actively growing—they will grow through the netting, thereby blooming and producing peas on the outside of the netting. And that couldn't be good.
Well, maybe good for the deer.