Deer damage 002 Wm[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=

Ex sweetcorn


Mike woke me up this morning with a mug of coffee and a twinkle in his eye. No, not that sort of twinkle.

“I’ve been thinking. About the deer. I have an idea but I need some help with testing.”

The aroma of roasted beans had raised consciousness levels a little. Enough to enable recall of previous such escapades. “Is there water involved in this plan?”


“Go on then, tell me..”

Deer damage 001 Wm[1]

Ravaged raised bed


He went on to describe a list of components he had stashed up in the garage. Mike never throws anything away. Posts. Wire. Power pack. The makings of an electric fence. I do vaguely remember a throw away comment from the previous owner of the house in the dim and distant past, along the lines of “something that might come in useful one day”. It’s uncanny how little things that seem unimportant at the time come back to haunt you. He’d used it for keeping his dog within one area of the garden. So he said.

Mike was sitting on the edge of the bed, eagerly awaiting a reaction to his latest lightbulb moment.

A gulp of coffee as I collect my thoughts. “So just explain again, why is it me who needs to do the testing?”

“Because I need to stand by the plug, in case we have to turn it off in a hurry…”


Deer Defences 001 Wm[1]


Construction underway


Do you think it might work? Until we can come up with something more permanent?

Wish us luck.


2017-10-24T19:32:44+00:00June 23rd, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Backlane Notebook June 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    How depressing is that and yes certainly worth a try and I really hope it works.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      It’s totally depressing. All that time nurturing seedlings. And the criminal bit is the deer doesn’t seem to want to eat them. Just breaks them off and casts them aside.

  2. Julieanne June 23, 2015 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    How frustrating – the corn was obviously doing well before that attack. It’s worth a go, but based on a different experience I had with electrifying something, don’t do it in the rain. Good luck and let us know what happens.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      That sounds painful.. !

  3. Anna June 23, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Grrrrrrrrrr – there must have been much gnashing of teeth Jessica. Short of you both mounting a round the clock guard as human scarecrows it’s definitely worth a go. Fingers crossed!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      Too much gnashing of deer teeth for my liking. Too much by far.

  4. christina June 23, 2015 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica, yikes the lovely dears really do damage in the garden, don’t they? So sorry about this, I would be so upset. We don’t have dears in our area, so I don’t know first hand, but I have repeatedly heard that if you want to protect a garden from them you need to fence it in with a fence of considerable height (sure you can find the exact height in the internet), because otherwise they jump over. If an electrical fence might work or not, well I guess you will figure that out soon. Definitively wishing you good luck!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      They are beautiful animals. I’ve seen them frequently in the garden. I would love to see them grazing the grass, if they would only keep away from my plants!

  5. Pauline June 23, 2015 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Are you sure it is deer, badgers are famous for loving sweetcorn! I hope it works, it must be so frustrating for you.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      I’m assuming it’s deer because sightings have increased over the last few days. Also it’s just chewing off the corn and then leaving it on the ground, not eating it. That’s what really hurts!!

  6. Mark and Gaz June 23, 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Sounds like a good idea. Goodluck!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Gotta try. I’m not giving up. Although there have been many times when I’ve felt like it.

  7. bumbleandme June 23, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Seems very logical. Good luck! Maybe have the fire brigade on standby, (only joking!) LOL. X

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Noooo.. he promised, no water!

  8. Angie June 23, 2015 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    So what you are telling us Jessica is that you went to be a human being and woke up a guinea pig 🙂
    Hope this works, as others have said, it must be so frustrating.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      I think guinea pig is in my job description Angie.

  9. frayed at the edge June 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    I could send you some (or indeed all) of my neighbours’ horrid cats to use as test subjects ………

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      I was thinking about the squirrels, I must admit.

  10. Sam June 23, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Good luck! Curse those pesky animals!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      I sometimes wonder what is next. I said to Mike (with some trepidation) the other day that the only thing we don’t have is badgers.

  11. Jayne Hill June 23, 2015 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    It might work but I’d suggest that it probably needs to be higher.

    On Sunday afternoon I was walking Daisy down by the river and I noticed a VERY SMALL deer at the edge of the water, on the far bank. I kept still and eventually it walked right to the water – I assumed to have a drink – but it just kept walking, and walking, and walking. And then I realised it was swimming very determinedly towards my side of the Derwent. I carried on and the deer and I got to about the same place at the same time – only there was a four foot high wire fence between us, topped with barbed wire.

    Bambi took one look at Daisy and I, did a fabulous impersonation of a Harrier jump jet, rose six feet in the air, straight over the fence and shot off across the field.

    As I said, your fence might need to be higher . . . please don’t tell Mike it was my idea . . .

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Proper deer fencing is seven or eight feet high. But with the addition of the barbed wire we might as well be living in Wormwood Scrubs. I’d love to have seen Bambi/Harrier Jump Jet. Quite an experience.

  12. Freda June 23, 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Strongly perfumed soap does work here….just saying!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      Cheaper than deer fencing..

  13. Chloris June 23, 2015 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    On dear, you are plagued by so many plant guzzling pests. I hope the electric fence works. I wouldn’ t fancy being the guinea pig though.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      I did see the deer eating ground elder a couple of days ago. If only we could restrict its diet to that.

  14. jannaschreier June 23, 2015 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    And I thought gardening in Australia was hard…. Good luck!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      I would swap a deer for a kangaroo any day. 🙂

  15. mattb325 June 23, 2015 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Eek – just be sure to touch it with the back of your hand (electricity can make muscles spasm – touching it with your palm could inadvertently cause you to grip it). It’s amazing how all of the green, green grass surrounding the bed is completely untouched….!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Yes, they choose their targets well don’t they!
      I once went blackberrying with my mother and we both had metal colanders to collect the fruit in. As she was tipping her crop into mine she touched an electric wire. Ouch!

  16. woolythymes June 23, 2015 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    eeek! I think I’d rather be on the plug end! Be careful!!!!!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      I’m angling for that. Methinks the person who builds the fence should be the one who tests it?

  17. Alain June 24, 2015 at 1:40 am - Reply

    I am always surprised to read that deer can also be a pest in the UK.
    Strangely enough deer are not much of a problem here. You would think they would be as we live in a remote area where there are deer. But fortunately there are also lots of predators (coyotes, bears) and of course human hunters in the autumn. I expect this is why deer are very nervous about coming close to houses.
    Good luck with your experiment!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      These deer are certainly skittish. They are very wary when we’re around. But I watched one for several minutes a couple of days ago and he certainly knew I was there. We made eye contact several times. They come into the garden either at night or at dawn.

  18. Kris P June 24, 2015 at 2:35 am - Reply

    It’s amazing the extents to which our struggles with critters drive us! I don’t like the idea of you acting as a test subject, though. Isn’t there a way to measure voltage without risking a limb? The deer themselves might be the best test subjects as who’s to say that what jolts you will also jolt a deer? Again, too bad I can’t send you a raccoon.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      Having read Brian’s comment (below) a blade of grass seems a much better solution! But the voltage through an electric fence is not that high. It acts as a deterrent rather then doing any actual harm. I’m more worried about the potential harm to other (smaller) wildlife, ready roasted pheasant for example!

  19. Beth @ PlantPostings June 24, 2015 at 3:30 am - Reply

    Good luck! I just spent several hours today trying to salvage a community pollinator garden plot that was ravaged by voles or field mice. They tunnelled under the plot and destroyed all but a few plants. I don’t have that problem much here. Instead I deal with rabbits … who eat everything … down to the ground. Kind of like your deer. Do be careful! Maybe a taller fence (with no electricity) would be a safer (albeit expensive) option?

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      The proper solution would be deer fence all around the garden but, yes, it’s prohibitively expensive. Voles (or mice) remain the main problem here too. I’ve seen rabbits, but apart from a bit of munching in early Spring they haven’t been that bad. Perhaps a dangerous thing to say..

  20. Brian Skeys June 24, 2015 at 5:26 am - Reply

    Morning coffee in bed, I shall have to keep this post away from Irene!!
    The way to test an electric fence Jessica, other than with a proper tester ( Available from agriculture merchants or get some one else to do it ) is to use a blade of grass and bring it up to the electric wire. You just get a tickle and then drop the grass. I hope it works on the deer.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      I shall remember your trick with the blade of grass Brian, thank you. That is, if I don’t manage to convince someone else to do it.

  21. Amy June 24, 2015 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Ouuuch! That’s in reference to the deer damage, but also to the prospective tester… I have to agree with Jayne that I’d think the fence might have to go a bit higher for deer control. Are you quite sure you wouldn’t enjoy owning a helpful dog?? Wishing you the very best of luck in any case…!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      I would enjoy owning a dog. Perhaps in the future when things have quietened down a bit and I might have more time for long walks. It would have to be one with a satisfyingly threatening growl, sufficient to send the squirrels running to the next county.

  22. Linda P. June 24, 2015 at 8:21 am - Reply

    All the best! I’m looking forward to an update. If we don’t hear from you for a while……seriously, do take care both of you.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda.

  23. croftgarden June 24, 2015 at 8:27 am - Reply

    We have quite a serious red deer problem in some parts of the island and with such big animals the only solution is a proper deer fence. You may have to experiment with the wire at different heights and possible too strands. Hopefully they’ll get the message quickly and try elsewhere!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Chris and welcome to rusty duck.
      A proper deer fence is the best solution. But to protect three acres would be expensive. Plus one of the ‘long’ sides of the garden fronts a shallow river which the deer just wade through. And a fence that high along the river bank would look awful. So all we can do really is just fence off the parts of the garden that are most vulnerable, like the vegetable raised beds. Hopefully a lower electrified fence will work as well. If not, I don’t know what to do!

  24. ginaferrari June 24, 2015 at 8:30 am - Reply

    I could do with that to keep the pigeons off!

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      We have those too 🙁

  25. Sue June 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    It might work, the only drawback might be that some animals on getting a shock push through the fence instead of flinching backwards from it … pigs being a case in point. The only way you train them not to do this is to have a scary, ie arm waving, human on the other side, and obviously you can’t do this with the deer.

    It could work though and if it does I will be furious with myself for not using this method at our last place when I had an ongoing way with deer for two years and spare electric fencing in the shed …. DOH!!. 🙁

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      Deer are definitely a mixed blessing. Gorgeous to look at but so destructive. I’ve noticed the bark on some of the trees is getting chewed. I’d assumed squirrels, but that could also be the deer. I was pondering over using tree guards for the sweetcorn, when (if!) it gets a bit taller?

  26. Jo June 24, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    Hope it works for you, it’s so disheartening to get plants to that stage and then have them decimated in that way. Anything’s got to be worth a go.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      It is so frustrating, on top of everything else! Sometimes I wonder if it’s actually possible to garden in a rural environment.

  27. Cheryl West June 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    A friend uses electric fencing for her veg.patch with great success against deer and woodchucks. She uses tree or four lines at varying heights. I hope you have success with this as it is so hard to see your plants munched and destroyed.

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cheryl, that’s really good news and encourages me to keep going. Mike has put in three lines so far, we’ll see how that goes and add a fourth if needs be.

  28. Sarah June 24, 2015 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Oh dear your garden does attract so much wildlife,Ii’m sure I was reading the other day a hint to stop the deer but I can’t now remember waht it was! I have known friends and family that have had visiting deer and they always went for the roses! Hope your have avoided yours! Sarah x

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 11:08 pm - Reply

      If they do that then it will be all out war. Most of the roses are on the terraces though, so they would need to be climbing deer!

  29. homeslip June 24, 2015 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    If at first you don’t succeed … Down at the allotment some of the folk have invested in extra large fruit cages, a few have re-purposed old farme tents and most of us make do with canes and yards and yards of scaffolding netting. It is a constant battle Jessica but it sounds as if you have a great ally in Mike and we all know what a great team you two make so good luck. Down my way we have to wrap the ripening sweet corn cobs in old plastic bags to stop things eating them … (On a brighter note we’ve just eaten globe artichokes, salad, strawberries and the first summer raspberries from the plot.)

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 11:13 pm - Reply

      Crikey Sarah, it sounds like you have enough of a battle on your hands as well. The sweetcorn thing is new this year, I’ve not had trouble with it before. Such a nuisance because I’m presuming it’s too late now to sow any more.

  30. CherryPie June 24, 2015 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    I would struggle if I was expected to think coherently when I had just woken up.

    Good luck with the experiment 🙂

    • Jessica June 24, 2015 at 11:16 pm - Reply

      I’m not at my best first thing in the morning either. It takes a lot of coffee.

  31. pbmgarden June 25, 2015 at 12:06 am - Reply

    Good coffee in the morning is enough to make you try anything. Sorry you’re having this problem Jessica. Deer can make you stamp your feet! So frustrating. Hope this helps. We added a 4-foot fence around the garden a few years ago (that’s as high as the neighborhood covenants allow) and although they can jump it, they are deterred and seem to have found another route. So I wish you luck. Voles are horrible to deal with and I haven’t found a good solution for them. My garden is full of holes.

    • Jessica June 25, 2015 at 10:15 am - Reply

      The fence isn’t electrified yet. If it being there in itself doesn’t work then we’ll have to add the power. Perhaps once they’ve seen we mean business our deer will do likewise. I don’t want to harm them, just point out the error of their ways! Vole holes I know only too well..

  32. Vera June 25, 2015 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Oooh now, how cross must you have been at those deer. I mean, for crikey’s sake, why didn’t they eat all of the plant which would not have been such a waste, but really, really, really!!! …..to only nibble a bit and leave the rest, now that is not nice. I do so hope that the fence works. We love to see deer in the area but now the fields are all fenced they are less inclined to visit us. …..but I do remember the first vegetables we planted when we came to France, and I can also remember the horror of seeing the plants have eaten after deer had visited. So, no probs with deer anymore, it is just the other, smaller, creatures……moles being the latest visitors!

    • Jessica June 26, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      That’s what really made me cross Vera. My sweetcorn didn’t even provide a meal. It was just snapped off and left and half a dozen others likewise.

  33. Anne Wheaton June 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Electric fencing seems an excellent idea. A blade of grass is my preferred method of testing too, though as children we used to dare each other to see who could hold on the longest. It was always a good game for unsuspecting friends.

    • Jessica June 26, 2015 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      It gives quite a jolt, as I know to my cost!

  34. casa mariposa June 26, 2015 at 12:04 am - Reply

    I can’t think at all when I first wake up so there’s no telling what I might agree to. But I like the idea of electrocuting garden eating deer. You get a garden and dinner in one fell swoop.

    • Jessica June 26, 2015 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Nooo!! The fence still isn’t on. I’m hoping that the wire will provide enough of a deterrent in itself. So far so good..

  35. Caro June 26, 2015 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Fencing is the way to go, Jessica. Mine isn’t electrified but mesh and netting around the veg garden has (so far) managed to deter foxes and cats from doing their business among the veg. I’ve now also repurposed an old metal fireguard as a gate since the kids broke the trellis gate with a football a few weeks back. Can’t help but feel grateful as the garden is now sealed off. Except to humans who can work a latch. Heh, heh.

    • Jessica June 26, 2015 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      I’m wondering if I can turn the veggie garden into the horticultural equivalent of Fort Knox. Rabbit proof, deer proof, cow proof, mouse proof etc etc. Heaven knows what it will look like.. but it will have a latch 🙂

  36. Rick Nelson June 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    I know how you feel rd I may not have deer nor do I grow vegetables, but when I see the damage done in the garden by squirrels and badgers which seems to be getting worse year on year I suffer from rage to helplessness then depression all in one day 🙂

    • Jessica June 28, 2015 at 11:10 am - Reply

      I do often wonder if it is worth all the effort I put into gardening. All those emotions are felt keenly here too. But it never lasts long does it. The next day we are out clearing up the mess and starting over again. The triumphs make it worth it, as your latest post clearly shows!

  37. Julie June 27, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    I work in a garden where Deer are a problem and all the fruit and veg is now caged, factoring in the cost of the cages they are the most expensive fruit and veg ever but you still cant beat homegrown! Good luck with your fencing.

    • Jessica June 28, 2015 at 11:14 am - Reply

      I’ve toyed with that idea too. A monster metal walk in cage with everything protected underneath. But the cost would be prohibitive, especially here where we are gardening on a steep slope. It would have to be a bespoke build. And the slugs and mice would still find a way in.

  38. Josephine June 27, 2015 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I know folks around here have wire electric fences around their gardens, because as you know, we have a deer problem that is growing unless the Tennessee Wildlife Agency, implements some kind of population control and stops the cycle….at least for a couple of breeding seasons.
    Most fences are higher, since a deer can jump extremely high, and will for most any treat they desire.
    Best of luck with your plan.

    • Jessica June 28, 2015 at 11:18 am - Reply

      It’s a difficult problem to solve. This is the first year we’ve had a real problem. Prior to that I maybe saw a single deer a couple of times a year, but usually they were well away from the garden. We haven’t seen these two again for a few days now so I’m just hoping they were passing through and have found somewhere new to settle.

  39. Peter/Outlaw June 28, 2015 at 7:09 am - Reply

    I hope your plan works! An electric fence around our fish pond has been a godsend. We no longer have an expensive sushi bar for raccoons.

    • Jessica June 28, 2015 at 11:21 am - Reply

      That’s good news. I remember the raccoon attack and felt for you, and the fish!

  40. bittster June 28, 2015 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to hear how this ends 😉 Fortunately you have posted in the days since so I suspect you’ve come through unscathed!

    • Jessica June 29, 2015 at 12:35 am - Reply

      It ended with me wimping out big time. There is still no electricity in the fence. I got to worrying about the other creatures that might stumble into it, like the pheasant. I didn’t want him on the dinner menu. Of course, if the deer return that might all change.

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