Protect Garden From Deer with a Plant Tonic

By Staff
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Marguerite Dunne is a city girl and traveler. Visit her website atwww.herbs-on-hudson.comor listen to her radio show, The Urban Herbalist, Marguerite was also the third place winner in The Herb Companion’s essay contest, “Looking Forward to Herbs.”

This weekend I was outside with my kittens and my cutting shears, delighting in the dirt, cutting back the natural raffia, amending my butterfly bush, (which took one wallop in our last snow storm), and juggling ropes to tie up my poor lilac bush, (which too much ice split right down to the roots). Betwixt and between the lavender and comfrey, my darling golden honey daylilies are crowning, and my azalea bushes are pushing back against my pruning shears. Then I remembered, “Time for M.’s springtime garden deer tonic.” Well, it’s not really a tonic to the deer, but a real tonic for the plants. 

You see, I love all the graceful fawns and gentle does and strong young bucks who think my garden is their personal salad bar, but I kind of wish they would find another garden to frolic in.

(Check out our five tips to keep deer out of your garden.)

Here’s my own deer go-away recipe to sprinkle on their favorite garden munchies.

Once the deer have tasted this impolite gruel, they’re not likely to return.
Photo by xtoq/Courtesy of Flickr

Deer Go-Away

• 1/2 pound beeswax
• 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
• 1 cup biodegradable dishwashing liquid
• 1/2 cup hot-hot cayenne

1. Throw all the ingredients in an old pot and set to heat on a low flame until the beeswax is completely melted (10-20 minutes). Stir.

2. While it’s still hot (once you remove the pot from the stove the wax starts to cool and harden), run outside and “sprinkle” this waxy deer go-away on the plants you don’t want to loose with a wooden spoon. (It won’t hurt the plants.) Wipe the spoon on some of the hard-to-reach leaves. 

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