The Deer Resistant Food Garden


A Guide to Vegetables, Fruit and Herbs Deer Don’t Like

      
by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
August 7, 2014

deerShort of erecting a tall fence, the best way to minimize deer damage in a vegetable garden is to grow plants deer don’t like to eat. When wild food sources are low, deer will munch on most anything. However, some garden fare is less attractive to these browsers than others.

Deer usually avoid root vegetables (which they have to dig up) and prickly vegetables such as cucumbers and squashes with hairy leaves. Sharply-odoured plants like onions, garlic and fennel are not palatable to deer. Similarly, strongly-scented marigolds and herbs like mint, sage or dill can direct deer away from favoured edibles. Certain plants, such as rhubarb, are toxic to deer.

The following list of deer resistant garden plants is intended as a general guide. Hungry deer are unpredictable and in times of wild food scarcity, high density, or ruminant culinary renaissance may sample even the most “deer resistant” vegetables, herbs and fruit!

Deer Resistant Garden Plants

Except in areas of high deer pressure, deer will usually bypass these garden vegetables and herbs:

An eggplant next to deer-ravaged broccoli

An eggplant thrives next to deer-damaged broccoli.

Asparagus
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Fennel
Garlic
Globe Artichokes
Ground Cherries
Horseradish
Leeks
Peppers
Rhubarb
Onions
Tomatillos
Turnips

mint plants

Strong-scented mint is a good deer deterrent.

Borage
Chamomile
Chives
Comfrey
Dill
Garlic Chives
Hyssop
Lavender
Lemon Balm
Marjoram
Mint
Mullein
Oregano
Rosemary
Sage
Savoury
Tarragon
Thyme

Moderately Deer-Resistant

These plants are safe in areas of low deer pressure, however, deer may turn to this group of edibles when favourites are not available. Take care to protect the young shoots, which are always tender and delicious to browsing deer!

A chard plant damaged by deer

Rainbow chard with deer damage. Chard is most vulnerable to browsing deer in the spring and fall when other food is not available.

Arugula
Beets (especially beet tops)
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Chard
Corn
Edible Figs
Kale
Melons
Mizuna
Mustard Greens
Okra
Parsnips
Potatoes (leaves and flowers)
Rutabagas

Basil plants

Basil

Summer Squash
Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)
Tomatoes
Winter Squash

Basil
Cilantro
Parsley

Deer Favourites

Deer love to munch on peas and beans. The also enjoy tree fruit and most berries. These plants are strong attractors for deer:

Pea plants

Deer love to dine on pea shoots like these.

Apples
Beans
Berries (most kinds)
Grapes
Kiwi Fruit
Lettuce & Leafy Greens
Pears
Peas
Plums
Strawberries

More articles:
Plants That Attract Beneficials

What Weeds Can Tell You About Your Garden

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS