Deer Resistant Vegetables and Herbs

Deer Resistant Vegetables and Herbs
taken from NW Farms and Food

If you want to minimize deer damage in an open garden, its best to start with plants that deer don’t like. Deer will “browse” on most anything when wild food sources are low. Some garden edibles, however, are less attractive to these voracious munchers than others.

Certain plants, such as rhubarb, are toxic to deer. Deer usually also avoid root vegetables (which require digging) and prickly vegetables such as cucumbers and squashes with hairy leaves. Sharply-odored cultivars like onions, garlic and fennel are not palatable to deer. Similarly, strongly-scented marigolds and herbs can direct deer away from favored munching plants.

Please regard the following list of deer-resistant garden plants as a general guide. Hungry deer are unpredictable and at times may eat even the most “deer-resistant” fare!

Deer-Resistant Garden Plants

Tomatoes
Asparagus
Carrots
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Fennel
Garlic
Globe Artichokes
Leeks
Peppers
Rhubarb
Tomatoes
Onions
Chives
Dill
Lavender
Lemon Balm
Mint
Parsley
Rosemary
Sage
Tarragon
Thyme
Lavender
Sage
Parsley

Moderately Deer-Resistant

These plants are moderately safe, however, deer may turn to this group of veggies and herbs when favorites are not available. Take care to protect the young shoots, which are always tender and delicious!

Beets
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Chard (safest in summer when the deer have other food choices)
Corn
Kale
Melons
Potatoes (reports of deer eating “toxic” potato leaves are becoming common)
Rutabagas
Summer Squash
Winter Squash
Basil
Cilantro

Deer Favorites

Deer love to munch on peas and beans. The also enjoy tree fruit and most berries. If you’re looking to attract deer to your garden, try planting some of these:

Apples
Beans
Berries (most kinds)
Lettuce & Leafy Greens (although red lettuces appear to be less palatable to deer)
Peas
Pears
Plums
Strawberries

If planting resistant vegetables does not deter deer from your garden, consider more serious deer defenses such as barriers and fencing. Whatever you plant or whatever measures you take, one thing is certain, the struggle between determined gardeners and determined browsing deer will continue!

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