Is it my imagination, or did the Mt. Lebanon deer population nearly double this year? Formerly shy deer stare me down when I’m watering the plants, wishing I would leave so they could enjoy their suburban buffet. I live in Sunset Hills and I’ve never seen so many deer walking through yards and wandering down the middle of the street.
This year I planted a tidy little vegetable garden, and it was a raging success, until the deer chomped off all of my tender tomato and sweet pea shoots. I noticed that they ignored my cucumbers, basil and bell papers, but the tomatoes and peas were daily targets. Having tried everything from cayenne pepper to scary, off-putting dances (performed by me in the hopes of disturbing the deer), I finally surrendered.
Fast forward to mid-August. My sad little garden was still making tomato blossoms, so there was still a glimmer of hope. I discovered something called a “deer net.” I found one at Rollier’s for less than $10. The net is made of durable nylon, and all I had to do was drape it over the garden. Apparently nose-touching is offensive to deer, so they back off when they come in contact with the net. I am happy to say that I now have a late summer crop of tomatoes, and I plan to reuse the net next year. I only wish I had discovered deer nets in May.