Friday, August 10, 2012

Big Fat Squash- Deer Resistant

When I am speaking to an audience, I begin with a call for questions. And the number one question is always about deer.

"Can you tell me about plants that are deer proof" someone asks. "No, I can't" I say. "The deer are just too tricky and too opportunistic and change their appetites with season and whim. I gave up and installed a big fence at my place". Of course this is an exaggeration- my large Vancouver Island front yard is exposed to the ravages of free roaming deer and it is also full of plants. Deer leave most of the evergreens including rhododendrons, laurel, hemlock, heather, holly and ornamental grass relatively in tact and they go directly for the roses. They also my entire sour cherry shrub this spring and half the new Weigela. But a funny thing happened on my dog walk today.

I noticed the Orangetti Hybrid Squash (William Dam Seeds) and the Galeux D'Eysines Pumpkin (West Coast Seeds) had spilled into the side lot. While I was looking the other way and obviously busy with other projects, they had grown through their protective fence and out into deer territory. Just in case you think the deer didn't notice, think again. The Brussels Sprouts growing right beside the squash had been neatly nipped back right to the fence while the squash sprawled forward leading with their blooms and fruits.

Will this situation change as the summer winds into fall? I have decided to wait and see. I won't provide any additional deer defence for the wandering patch and will watch and see if fruits get trampled and leaves clipped. I have enough (17 at last count) fruits maturing safely inside the fence so what happens outside the fence is a bonus really. If you have had success with squash make sure to let me know!

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