The Deer Resistant Food Garden
A Guide to Vegetables, Fruit and Herbs Deer Don’t Like
Short 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:
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!
Beets (especially beet tops)
Potatoes (leaves and flowers)
Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)
Deer love to munch on peas and beans. The also enjoy tree fruit and most berries. These plants are strong attractors for deer:
Berries (most kinds)
Lettuce & Leafy Greens
Plants That Attract Beneficials