Deer’s gonna be trouble next spring!

It’s certainly been a very different year than I’d planned, so apologies for not staying up on the blog. I have had both of my knees replaced in the last couple months, so I’ve been a little preoccupied with that! Now, to the wrapup!

This was the year that the deer decided to not just bite, but to gnaw upon the hand that feeds them. Here they are on Labor Day, making their way as a family to further decimate the plantings on my sidewalk berm.

Then, less than a week later, I learned what they thought about my fencing. I was enjoying a chill Sunday morning when I look out and see mama deer on the other side of the driveway staring at me. I go into the porch and lower the window to talk to her about privacy, and she keeps dead eyeing me. Co-mama has shown up and is pacing around, but mama deer is still right there giving me the eye, standing just that close to the house. No zoom here.

Now that she had my attention, she turned and walked directly to the herb bed gate. I forgot to rehang it while was clearing it out for the season. I called out, and that sent the other deer running around in circles, trying to figure out which way to jump, but not this one. Nope. You see she went right in and *stopped* and turned around and looked at me. I came off the porch and walked across the driveway before she literally leaped from standing over a 6-foot high net fence and moseyed off into the woods looking back at me the entire time.

Then, just two short weeks later, they struck their final blow. I had my gathering basket and entered my raised beds to harvest the many delightful things that were ready to pick. When I stepped into my garden I noticed hoof prints all over and thought how could that be? Then I looked up and saw the tattered remains of a large section of my fence.

They ruined literally every single plant I had in there, eating every vegetable I had planned to harvest that day. Before the day was over, I’d mowed down the thicket by the house, mowed down the front yard, and hung a heavy wooden gate to my backyard. Since they found themselves to be so adept at finding food, they can certainly find their own henceforth. They have plenty of things in my yard to eat, and they left that fence alone for years. Next spring that netting will be replaced with actual metal fencing. This aggression will not stand.

The September Massacre, as this series of events will be known henceforth, strengthened my resolve to do only containers next year. I will not be putting anything into the raised beds, and the containers will be heavily netted. I did enjoy the few things I harvested over the summer, though, in spite of how the season ended. My herb garden provided me endless delightful meals, and the potato pots produced plentifully!

While ruminating on how to thwart the rampaging ruminants, I considered the possibility of extending the growing season on my glassed in front porch. I bought a six foot folding table, and got to work transforming the porch to a lovely winter garden.

My sweet feline babies enjoyed the pots of foliage, and hid among them like I couldn’t see them perfectly well. Here’s Cheezit considering this pot of Brandywine tomatoes.

I had many pleasant workdays at the table as well! I work at home, and it was an absolute joy to be out there listening to the birds with the scent of herbs in the air.

The BSE hung my grow lights while I was recovering from left knee replacement.

Here are some arty photos of my beautiful plants!

I naively assumed that the glassed in porch would be enough to keep the frosts of late fall at bay, and was reprimanded by Mother Nature herself, as illustrated below. Disappointing, but next year I’ll do the work and put plastic over the windows. Laziness killed these tomatoes as surely as any frost did.

I have planted lettuce, spinach, radishes, beets, and kale in these pots, cold-hardy varieties that can be planted in the garden as early as April. I’m hoping that they will produce, because I am not quite ready to give up the dream of the winter porch garden. That said, it’s Michigan, and we all know how Michigan can be, as evidenced by this video from a couple weeks ago.

While this year’s garden season had kind of a bummer ending, it’s never a waste of time to get out in the dirt, and I’m excited to see what I can do come garden season 2023 with two brand new replacement knees. I’ll be ready for those deer, I can assure you of that!

Author: Amy Crabtree Campbell

figuring it out as I go, since 1967

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