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Edibles (for humans) that country deer (and some urban deer) NEVER eat

 
Judith Browning
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edibles (for humans) that country deer NEVER eat (in my experience)...
These are relatively healthy deer that have a large area to browse and only during an extended drought move on to cultivated plants and trees (unless it is sweet potato vines, beans and okre grown unfenced)
This list (for us anyway) is of dependable "outside the fence" crops..

Persimmon trees and leaves (they might be eatting the fruit off of the ground)
Muscadine vine, leaves, fruit
Gooseberry canes, leaves and fruit
mushrooms
thyme
oregano
rosemary
walking onions, egyptian onions
garlic
raspberry (yellow, red and purple) cane and fruit (they have nibbled leaves)
blackberry brambles
Perilla
lemon grass
comfrey
mullien
vitex
weld and woad...but they love madder and cosmos (all four are dye plants, NOT edibles)
lovage
luffa and other gourds
lemon balm
catnip
anise hyssop
hyssop
Fig trees
elder flowers, leaves and fruit

edited to add:
arugula
mustard
feverfew
black walnut
boysenberry

Please add to list.........
 
Alex Ames
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Location: Georgia
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My deer are not country deer but they don't seem to care for cilantro, basil, chives, onions and parsley.
I am growing all of those successfully outside the fence.
 
Judith Browning
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Alex, I wasn't really meaning to exclude city deer...I just have heard how in some urban areas their populations have gotten so out of hand that they eat everything. My experienc is only with rural deer and lots of woods and hunting surrounding us for the past forty years. As skinny as ours were during our drought they still left those things on my list alone. Thanks for the additions..maybe all alliums are deer safe.
Ours do eat parsley but cilantro is good to know and basils. Our fenced space is so limited anything safe outside of it is so welcome.
 
Rick Larson
Posts: 210
Location: Manitowoc WI USA Zone 5
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The deer eat most things here including some permaculture shrubs and trees when small. So I continue to expand the fence... Get cheap fence stuff at thrift shops from time to time.
 
Alex Ames
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Judith Browning wrote:Alex, I wasn't really meaning to exclude city deer...I just have heard how in some urban areas their populations have gotten so out of hand that they eat everything. My experienc is only with rural deer and lots of woods and hunting surrounding us for the past forty years. As skinny as ours were during our drought they still left those things on my list alone. Thanks for the additions..maybe all alliums are deer safe.
Ours do eat parsley but cilantro is good to know and basils. Our fenced space is so limited anything safe outside of it is so welcome.



My deer are not city deer, they are suburban deer. In a couple of minutes they can be in deep, rugged woods from my house.
They know both worlds. They eat sunflower seeds out of the bird feeder and then head to the country. I imagine you are right
about them eating parsley but for me they leave enough that I don't worry about it. I shake seed heeds of parsley out in a number
of places to make sure I have some.
 
Judith Browning
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I do notice year to year for no particular weather related reason, the deer here will sometimes eat roses, cucumber vine, tomato vine, potato plants and jerusalem artichoke tops (just the tips and the plant will regrow and they will be back for the tips...but this summer they let them grow) This happens just often enough I have to deer proof the plants just in case. I have wondered if some enjoy more variety and taste more plants. Right now we have a doe and twin young who only recently lost their spots coming through to graze during the day most days. They were eatting mostly dock leaves yesterday. We let them stay awhile and then wake up the dog to go chase them off.
 
William Roan
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Bay area Open city garden, deer make their nightly raids and will sample everything except ginger, mint, nastursum and anything in the squash family.
Biologybill
 
Tyler Ludens
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Sotol. Agave.

 
Judith Browning
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I just remembered these...
Lavender
wild plum
echinacea (rarely they eat flower buds)


Tyler, what is sotol?

biology bill, I forgot mints and nastursiums...thanks. wish we could grow ginger here.
I might try pumpkin outside the fence...do you think its the fuzzy leaves on squash that keeps the deer from eating them?
 
Alex Ames
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Judith a month or so ago I hacked off some overgrown boxwoods at the entrance to my driveway. Last night a doe was eating
the tender new growth that had emerged. They would never eat a mature boxwood but it is the tender new growth they seem to love.

I have had deer eat collards and I have had them leave them alone. I really think they can be grown outside the fence to some extent.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Sotol is a dry climate plant with an edible stem that was a staple food of the indigenous folks of this region. It makes quite a beautiful landscape plant but is difficult to prepare for eating, taking several hours to cook. Deer don't seem to touch it.

 
William Roan
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Hi Judith
Did you read my anti deer stratagy posting under Eric's "Root excavation" entry?
http://www.permies.com/t/16774/permaculture/Hugelkultur-Vegetable-Root-Excavation
Ever since I put in the boxed verticle hugelculture, they have been leaving their favorite
plants alone.
My pumpkins, crookneck, zucchini and Kabocha are all growing out in the open.
They have to walk through it to get to their favorite plants. They may nip a leaf or two to sample, but thats it.
They don't seem to touch the neem or olive trees either. I have strawberries growing under tomatoes.
They graze the tomatoes but haven't found the strawberries.
Biologybill
 
Judith Browning
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I deleted because I somehow posted twice.
 
Judith Browning
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hi, biologybill, I will go back and find your post with eric's topic and read it...cant link with a kindle. It could be that deer would not ever eat neem or olive trees anyway but I know they always love strawberry plants year round... if you can hide them under the tomatoes thats success. I'm going to try pumpkins in different spots next year... maybe one can be a boxed in verticle hugel as you describe. thanks
I think the tastey new growth observation of Alexs probably explains some of their spotty eatting habits. Until we built a nine foot (we had had enough) welded wire fence, growing some food crops were really hit or miss. Deer are sensitive to change. You think you've figured them out and then they get used to the change and chomp away. Our friends used a four foot double fence for more than twenty years and this summer deer jumped over both fences and wiped out their garden. Individual fruit trees are almost easier...four foot fence out enough they can't reach the leaves but small enough they won't jump inside.
 
Barbara Greene
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I agree that deer go for the tender stuff and less so for the older tough plants. I also find that if you are not on their regular path of nightly feeding rounds, you might get away with less damage until you can get a fence up to discourage them. I moved out to our land in June and brought 8 large tubs of yummy fruit trees, strawbs, vines, onions and other plants. It was at least 2 months before they even got nibbled upon, I think they just hadn't discovered them (not on their regular route), even now 2 months later, the plants don't have much damage. Of course, I will be building a fence soon.
 
Steve Flanagan
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They don't bother my Pomegranate, Feijoa, greek bay tree, greek myrtle, or strawberry tree.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm hoping it will be the case here that deer won't eat Feijoa/Pineapple Guava. I just planted two of them, but I'm putting a little fence around them until they get established, just in case some deer want to taste. A few tastes can mean the end of a small plant....

 
Steve Flanagan
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I'm hoping it will be the case here that deer won't eat Feijoa/Pineapple Guava. I just planted two of them, but I'm putting a little fence around them until they get established, just in case some deer want to taste. A few tastes can mean the end of a small plant....



Better safe then sorry.

They got into my garden a while back and munched on my sunflowers, yet didn't touch my sunchokes. Weird, huh?
 
duane hennon
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this year we had a warm spring which brought the blossoms out early
and then a hard frost zapped a lot of apple and other fruit trees
so most have no fruit (either in orchards or wild) and the deer have less fruit to eat
this has caused them to search harder for snacks
so they're in more places than normal
 
Anthony Anderson
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nanking cherries, BLACK currants, all gooseberries, russian comfrey, and russian olive all go untouched while others in my Minnesota garden could be massacred.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Oh yeah, They have not touched my Goumi shrubs. And strangely enough, they have not touched my plum tree either.
 
Judith Browning
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Lots of great additions...let me know if anything on my list is getting eaten in anyone's garden, not just nibbled but devoured.
 
Carol Golsch
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Location: Sunnyvale CA
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We have a LOT of deer. They don't eat our borage, which is very tasty fried, or our sage (also tasty fried).

They also don't eat stinging nettles -- you may not think stinging nettles are edible, but they are!

They also don't eat the elderberries; note, if you want to eat them you are supposed to cook them first.

We also have not had problems with them trying to eat our artichoke plants; they were in a small enclosure that the deer certainly could have raided, but did not

Thanks for posting a great topic,.
 
Judith Browning
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Anthony Anderson wrote:nanking cherries, BLACK currants, all gooseberries, russian comfrey, and russian olive all go untouched while others in my Minnesota garden could be massacred.


I am not familiar with nanking cherries...a type of bush cherry? Thanks...good to know about russian olive.


Carol, thanks for your additions to the list...I may try borage again...I am able to let it reseed for several years then it doesn't come back one year and I have to buy new seed.
 
Anthony Anderson
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yeah really nice bush cherry that can be trained as a tree or bush - great leaves too. My elderberries and honey berries have also gone untouched. Also - raspberries (pretty much). I think the answer may be to bite the bullet and at least protect your larger core area with a fence. I think I will do that next year while I plant more black locusts and nankings.
About the nankings...If you thin out the immature berries you can get some really nice red ones when they do ripen, but birds and little mammals can be tough on you...for eating..mixed with honey/favorite sweetener and honestly even alone and they are just great. I planted them and surrounded with woodchips - they have SOARED in 3 years.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Contrary to above, my raspberries (even the native R. leucodermis but not R. parviflorus), euro plums, and strawberry tree (we have a native version, so perhaps acquired taste?) get hammered

Add:

Rhubarb
Good king henry
Sorrel (both garden and sheep's; the formal gets nibbled but is so vigorous I get plenty)
Violet (episodic grazing)
Nipplewort (Lapsana)
Blueberry
Evergreen huckleberry
Dandelion
Potato, Squash, Corn
Lupine (soil improver)
Jerusalem artichoke
Bay laurel
Jostaberry (black current gooseberry cross; gets nibbled but still strong yield)
Elephant garlic (actually a shallot)
Wild strawberry (F. vesca, but not domesticated...)
Hazelnut


Also as mentioned above, borage, walking onion, nettle, etc...
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Found by chance:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Campanula+takesimana
Korean blue bell, an unusual edible that they don't browse...
 
Julie Carney
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Location: Silicon Valley
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Hate to be a party pooper, but our land is in the country, and the deer population is pretty big....
They have munched anise hyssop to the nubbins...They've munched spirea [just a pretty plant advertised as deer-proof]...down to the ground......
This fall I planted walking onions, garlic and elephant garlic around a variety of trees I'm starting in tree tubes - More for protection than anything else.....The shoots were beginning to grow...Some about 4-6" high....Then the deer found them and munched on them.....They also took out a new salvia I planted that did not have a strong smell....
They HAVE left my SMELLY salvias alone, and do not bother the wild mint.........
I have a large garden area fenced to 9ft, and I'm starting plants there [including gooseberries etc.... When they're well-established, I hope to try some OUTside the area because I will be able to afford to replace them if they get eaten.
They even ate some roses this Fall.......I thought the thorns would dissuade them!
I have some buckthorn I have started from seed, and am trying to work out if I need to barricade the seedlings when they're ready to put out...Maybe California deer are less discerning than the deer you have!
I like the idea of making some vertical stocade type protection.......Seems like we'll need to have a lot of wood available to do much of this!
Cheers!
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hi, Julie, Something I have wondered after starting this topic is if we all should have specified what kind of deer we have. Ours are exclusively white tail deer and our forty acres is surrounded by hundreds of wooded acres and low human population density except during hunting season when you better wear orange to hang out the laundry. I wonder if yours are mule deer? I've heard if deer are too crowded they will eat a bigger variety of browse. I have spirea at an old house site here that doesn't look eatten and old garden roses..gallica..that occasionally the deer eat just the growing tips but because of their growth pattern ths only makes for more bloom. I too love nine foot fences.
 
Julie Carney
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Location: Silicon Valley
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We are in CA, and I believe we have mule deer....They are NOT fussy eaters! Who would have guessed they have different palates!?!
We're in the foothills....We have 15 acres, and on several sides neighbors have 10 / 20 acres....One side has a lot more......So, we're also more crowded than you.....
We have a large lake and all sorts of wildlife drinks / hangs out there....
Most of the neighbors run cattle or keep horses..
Just remembered...The deer alo strip the blackberry leaves / tayberry leaves given half a chance!
They have a saving grace of being very pretty!
Does anyone else see any difference between what the E /W coast deer eat??
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Our white tailed deer are just beginning to move in closer and chomp a few of the usual...j. artichoke tops and a pumpkin leaf here and there. Our unusually cool, wet and lush spring kept them busy elsewhere I guess. Now that it is dry I see signs near our house. We still have a reliable list of things they don't touch and we can grow those outside of the fence.
I am starting to think mule deer have different eatting habits though.
 
David Hartley
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Here, on the Oregon coast, I see deer ear roses and huckleberry (leaves and fresh growth)... and they seem to looove Amanita mushrooms!
 
Denis Huel
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My black walnut (and butternut) seedlings are browsed heavily if not fenced. Russian olive is the only tree I can plant without protection. Otherwise 20 years later I still have a 1 ft high tree or shrub if it survives.
 
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