The other day as I was taking the bus out to my community garden plot, I saw a young male deer grazing in the park across Mass Ave from the Naval Observatory (maybe he wanted to say hi to Joe Biden). DC has many parks and green spaces, and maintains a surprisingly healthy population of deer, particularly in the many-fingered Rock Creek Park. I’ve been told that the Newark Street Community Garden experiences a fair degree of crop loss to deer, so almost everyone has tall fences around their plots. It’s a little sad, since having a nice open plot would be friendlier. When I visited the Picardo Farm in Seattle last summer, it was wonderful to be able to see the entire garden all at once, with no obstructions.
But here in DC, I was told by several fellow gardeners that even my five-foot fence would not be enough, so I fortified it with some bamboo poles sticking up every eight inches or so. These add a couple extra feet to the height of my fence. Given that my plot is one of the first a deer would come upon after emerging from the nearby woods, I may need several lines of defense. I might make some DIY deer repellant spray with cayenne and garlic and slightly soapy water, which supposedly works well until the rain washes it away. My plot is about to become a tasty-looking buffet for a marauding deer, so I’ll need to be vigilant.
My boyfriend joked that I should simply put in some sharp poles sticking up out the ground in my plot and skewer myself some leaping venison instead. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.