I came back from a weekend in Toronto to discover that about 70% of my "almost-ready-to-harvest" veggies had been eaten by a deer. Upon arriving at my plot, I thought to myself "hmmmm, i could have sworn i had more cucumber plant when i left. I was expecting it be bigger, not smaller." Right next to the eaten cucumbers was a small patch of deer skat. Classy.
I checked on everything else in the garden. All my prolific tomatoes which rested on the top branches were gone. All my squash and pumpkin flowers eaten. I felt almost heartbroken. Thinking about all the work that went into the garden the last few months, all to be destroyed in little over a ten-minute feast by a deer.
My dad checked his garden and discovered a similar situation. All pepper plants eaten, all top tomatoes, gone.
We both thought vengence for awhile, as that is very frusterating. However, I'm glad that this happened this year, while this is still more of a hobby, rather than something we need to make money on. It sucks because the harvest will be severely stunted, but now we have to act and prepare ourselves better for next season.
Its not the deer's fault that it is hungry and likes eating these plants. Working within a permaculture principle, we gotta respect the deer's right to eat, and we're looking at natural deer repellants, such as garlic spray (which would double as a natural pesticide!) or planting certain species around the garden. I think I'll experiment with a couple things seeing as it might be difficult to sway the deer's habits now.
Another thing i'd like to say is that i was reading an ad for a plant store in Toronto, boasting that Toronto Urban Gardeners have to deal with all the problems regular gardeners have, plus all the problems in the city, such as cigarette butts, vandels, etc. Well guess what? At least they don't have to deal with deer!! I'd much rather pick a few cigarette butts of my plants rather than deal with a full-blown deer invasion! :)
Any advice would be appreciated!