By Lynda Shadbolt
This story begins on a mid March day in 2022. It was one of those beautiful winter days that felt like spring would soon arrive. The sky was blue, the sun was warm, the snow was melting and the skiing was coming to an end. Jim and I were sitting on our deck talking about our gardens that were to come. Spring was in the air and it always feels so exciting and hopeful to get started. Every year Jim makes a new plan for his vegetable garden. He rotates his crops, and often tries to grow something new. We’ve had gardens for over 30 years and they have evolved over time. We grow vegetables with a big focus on garlic. We’ve planted many flowers in our yard over the years and lost all of them to the deer that roam in our neighbourhood.
Our “yard flower gardens” eventually became garlic gardens, and our flowers were moved into our fenced area with the veggies. About 10 years ago we had several deer “break-ins” into our garden and lost a lot of our produce. At that time Jim got very serious with his fence building and the spraying of the planters with the deer repellent products. There is nothing more disappointing than coming home from a camping trip in mid August to find that all of your produce and flowers have been eaten. Thank goodness the deer don’t eat garlic, but they sure love everything else.
Fast forward to this year and our garden planning began on that March day. Jim orders seeds and plants and we dig in and get growing. There are so many deer in our neighbourhood these days, but our dog, Billie Rose, and our neighbour’s dog, Daisy, make enough noise to keep the deer away. Every day we watch and hope as our veggies grow. My friend down the street had the deer walk up onto her deck and eat all of her flowers while she was away. Another “new to gardening friend” lost all of her crop in early July to the deer. Our hearts go out to these people.
Meanwhile summer passes and we are into September and our gardens are good except for a few flowers that get nibbled. By the end of September all that we have left are our tomatoes, which we have never had a lot of success with. This year they are thriving. Jim has taken such good care of them for months. We also have kale left that will last us for a while. We are happy.
And then comes that morning when we wake up and can see that the deer have broken into the garden and have eaten ALL of our tomatoes and the remaining kale. It is so disappointing. My dreams of tomato sandwiches and canned pasta sauce, made from our own tomatoes, are gone. I’m really not sure what to think about all of these deer that live in our area. They weren’t here when we moved in 32 years ago. They are beautiful to look at, but I really think they should be living in the wild, not in our gardens and yards.