Herbs That Deer Do Not Eat or Like
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Michelle Stuart
Posted on: April 12, 2010

I have a 3/4 acre garden in Amagansett, New York (end of Long Island), USA for almost twenty years. Last year the deer decimated my garden. A landscape person who uses your services said to plant herbs in my garden and to get them from you. Perhaps, he said I could intersperse other plants among the herbs, like grasses. That herbs could be just as beautiful as other plants

My question is this: Which would be the most deer tolerant or should I say the most obnoxious to deer? Which herbs would make a pretty garden? And which would be both and even good to eat?

The earth here is good and the weather Zone 7 for growing. I suppose I also should ask which ones could be planted this spring for a good garden this spring/summer season...and hopefully even next. For example lavender winters over well here and they haven’t eaten that yet.

Unfortunately, deer, like people, have different tastes. Also like people, if they are hungry they will all of a sudden eat what they spurned before. It is certainly true that in general deer like herbs a lot less than grasses and other mild-tasting locally abundant plants -because they have such strong flavours. This means that a plant ignored by deer in one region may not be ignored by those in another region. You will certainly have trouble again next summer because the deer have found out that your yard contains tasty plants and they will remember.

I have been told that planting a three-foot (one meter) wide band of nasturtiums around the area to be protected will repel such marauders as rabbits, ground hogs, squirrels and deer. It is a beautiful way to repel them anyway and the flowers make pretty and tasty additions to salads.

I would also intersperse the "Piss-Off" plant liberally amongst the plants that they ate last year.

Rabbits and deer in our area have never touched oregano, thyme or garlic. The former likes our sandy soil so much that I now wish that they WOULD take a liking to it!

If all strong tasting herbs fail, you can always erect an eight foot high fence as a last resort. One friend of ours has done just that and reports that only the odd rabbit digs under the fence and has to be caught in a live trap... but no more deer.

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