PUT ELECTRIC FENCE AROUND FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GARDENS
Some people have put electric fence around their fruit and vegetable garden to keep out animal predators. Deer damage can seriously cut back on the harvest.
Years back, my Dad strung electric fencing all around his sweet corn. He was in the right place at the right time to see a raccoon come by for a visit. The animal touched his nose to the wire and got a sharp “zap.” It plunked down on its rear end, stuck its nose skyward, and cried. Dad said it actually sounded like a little child throwing a temper tantrum.
ATTRACT DEER WITH PEANUT BUTTER
I do not work with electricity either out of cowardice or an abundance of caution. I have heard that some people bait their electric wire with peanut butter, which sounds like something I would do. Deer have a real affinity for peanut butter.
Sometimes we have to encourage these creatures to “take the bait.” Like the little kid in the movie who booby trapped his house to keep the burglars out, you just can’t play “nice” when it comes to defending your harvest. And preventing deer damage should be uppermost on your mind.
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THE MOUSE TRAP!
Inspiration tends to strike at the oddest moments. When I was younger, I was just panic stricken about mice and rats (and spiders.)
A tiny mouse got loose in the bank where I used to work, and amid the chaos, I ended up sitting on top of my desk with my feet in my chair. The years have changed my perspective on these matters, and while I still don’t like them, now they are the ones that had better run!
A mouse got into my house while I was bringing groceries in from the car. I was in no mood to chase it down, so used a sticky mouse trap, which is like a sheet of contact paper.
NOTE: This glue gets very soft within a day or so and the trap will have to be replaced.
I put it on the floor behind the washer and dryer where the mouse was hiding, put a big blob of peanut butter in the middle of it, and shut the door. It didn’t take long.
THE STICKY TRAP FOR DEER
Suddenly, I had a brain storm. I cut a sheet of sticky mouse trap paper into 1 inch wide strips and put a loop of sewing thread in the top of each one. I smeared peanut butter liberally on the paper back side of them. After hanging them here and there on the outer limbs of a fruit tree, I carefully removed the protective coating from the other side which revealed the sticky side of the trap.
I went back into the house and crossed my fingers. I didn’t actually get to see a deer with the sticky concoction dangling from his whiskers, but still had a feeling of accomplishment. When you plant an orchard, preventing deer damage is paramount.
NOTE: Sticky fly paper sprayed with something sugary or smeared with peanut butter would work as well.
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HABANERO PEPPERS – – – AND ALMOND BARK
My apple tree works like a magnet in the Fall when the fruit is getting ripe. I have seen deer stand on their hind legs and reach high into the limbs to raid the fruit.
I have a special treat waiting for them: Habanero peppers coated thickly with almond bard and hung here and there on the outer branches on slender sewing thread. Place them high enough so small kids can’t reach them. I have not tried simply laying them in the grass around the tree, but see no reason why it wouldn’t work.
At the end of the holiday season, I load up on almond bark that the stores are trying to get rid of and freeze it, making sure to use it within a year or less. Above all, be sure to coat the peppers at least twice to mask their smell.
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For fruit trees that ripen later in the season like some of mine do this works well. The weather is cool enough (and I live far enough north) that the almond bark doesn’t melt. However, I sometimes put the uneaten ones back in the refrigerator during the daytime to firm them up.
Fruit that ripens in mid-October down south will probably ripen later in October or even into November here in southern Iowa. The climate (planting zone) you live in and the kind of weather you’ve had that year determines the bloom time of the blossoms and the ripening time of the fruit.
HAPPY PLANTING! Susan
For more in-depth information on GROWING YOUR OWN FRUIT