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Deer garden on the cheap

 
gardener
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Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Hello all. My neighbors son has ask me to tend a new deer garden for him. I’m not a hunter and I only know the basics. I do know what a tough spot this will be. It’s 1400 square feet on the top of a hill. To make matters worse it’s too far out to water.
My plan: I have a lot of spare seed. Coat and Jacket cow peas, gourds, and Red Garnet amaranth. I don’t feel like the gourds will be eaten but they’ve been here for a few years and are immune to squash bugs. My thought is they can shade the ground to hold in moisture. Did I mention it stops raining here in June? The amaranth is robust as are the cowpeas. So I’m not as worried about them.
This is where my cheapness comes in. What weeds do they like? I’d like to harvest weed seed like plantain and clover to toss out. What I do not want to do is go out and buy some deer plot seeds.
You guys are very innovative and that’s what I need. All suggestions are welcome! Scott
 
Scott Stiller
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Posts: 932
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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As always I forgot to add the picture...
11CA8BA5-FF3D-40CA-A43E-84F03F7B506D.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 11CA8BA5-FF3D-40CA-A43E-84F03F7B506D.jpeg]
 
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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The weeds that my deer like probably do not grow in NC.

We put out apples one year for them, guess they had never seen an apple so they left them alone.

I have lots of plantain so they must not like it.

Here the deer eat acorns. They will probably like cowpeas but not turnips, things in a food plot seed mix.

If you want cheap seeds for them, go to your grocery store's dry bean section.
 
Posts: 38
Location: South Carolina
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I don't know if it's all deer or just the ones in my area, but they LOVE watermelon plants. They'll eat the melons if I break them open, but otherwise they just eat all the leaves off of them.  Sweet potato vines are another favorite if you have extra slips. I would do either of those as ground cover over gourds, as the prickliness of most gourd leaves supposedly deters deer (yet they ate my pumpkin plants to the ground last year). Okra is a good draw for deer, too.
My area is hot, dry, and humid with little to no rain from June to September. I've grown each of those without irrigation, and since you don't need good fruit quality, maybe they would work, especially if you soak the seeds before planting.

I have lots of plantain and multiple types of clover. I've never seen the deer eat those. But they're always eating something in the field... I'd love to know which weed(s) they're attracted to.
 
Scott Stiller
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This confirms my suspicions Nikki, deer are very odd creatures! Everything you mentioned my deer won’t touch. On the other hand they will eat all the leaves off a mimosa tree in short order.
 
gardener
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Location: Piedmont 7a
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Deer usually love clover. Also, any kind of greens are usually a good choice, and build some soil as well - radish, brassicas, oats, rye, wheat etc
 
Scott Stiller
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Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Good morning Artie! I love purple globe turnips. I love them in dishes and how easy they are to grow. I’ve grown them on backfill! When I have extra or when bugs have gotten to them I toss them near my neighbor’s deer stand. They get eaten in short order.
Clover is easy here. With all of the red clay we have here in N.C. it’s already everywhere.
 
pollinator
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Location: WV
56
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Deer devoured my comfrey last year. I have both bocking 4 and 14 and they didn’t seem to have a preference.
 
Scott Stiller
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Not something I’ve considered Michelle. I have lots that can be divided. Thanks!
 
Michelle Heath
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Scott Stiller wrote:Not something I’ve considered Michelle. I have lots that can be divided. Thanks!



You’re welcome.  I’m planning on planting some around the edge of the woods to entice them away from my yard.
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