How do you keep deer at bay?
Gardeners have been contending with deer as long as there have been gardens. To prevent deer from devouring plants, some gardeners use a variety of materials and barriers - from animal urine to fencing - while others prefer to landscape with deer-resistant plants. We'd like to know what has worked best in your garden.
What deer repellents have you used? Did they work? Where did you buy them? If a material wasn't commercially available, how did you make it?
Have you used deer fencing? What has worked best (type of material, height)?
Do you use deer-resistant plants? Which plants work? Which were failures (did the deer eat the flowers, nibble the leaves, or kill the plants)? Is your deer-resistant planting attractive? What time of year does it look best?
Please send responses, including your name, address, and phone numbers (home and work), to Deer-resistant Gardens, Sunset Magazine, 80 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025. If you have color snapshots showing your deer-resistant garden, send them, too (tell us if you want the photos back).
MOUNTAIN ZONES CHECKLIST: November
* BULBS. Nurseries and garden centers are well stocked with all kinds of spring-flowering bulbs now. Buy before they have been picked over. Plant all kinds immediately in cold-winter areas, but prechill tulips, hyacinths, and crocus for six weeks if you garden in the desert; the crisper section in your refrigerator works nicely for this.
* WILDFLOWERS. Put them in weeded and prepared beds, water well, and watch, weeding out anything that wasn't in your mix. (When you sow wildflower beds, also sow a small amount of the same seeds in a flat of sterile soil so you'll have a reference plot. Otherwise, you won't know weeds from flower seedlings.)
* BRING IN HOUSE PLANTS. If you haven't done it yet, bring tender plants into the house for the winter. Check plants for insects, rinse them off in lukewarm shower water, and put in a place that gets plenty of light.
* DIG AND STORE DAHLIAS. Stop watering a few days before digging dahlias, then carefully unearth them with a spading fork. Discard tops, brush off dirt, and let tubers cure for a few days in a dry, frost-free place. Then store them in boxes of peat, vermiculite, or sand.
* GROOM LAWNS. This month will be your last chance to clean up your lawn. Mow one last time, rake leaves before they mat and smother the grass beneath, and edge. Once serious frosts set in, growth slows or stops for the winter.
* GROOM PERENNIALS. Be judicious as you cut back perennials, leaving ones that, though they don't have their summer colors, do have seed heads or dried flowers for winter interest (and bird food).
* MAKE COMPOST. As the weather cools off, you can speed up the com-posting process by grinding plants before you throw them into the compost pile. If you have a lot of fallen leaves, for example, go over them with your mower, then dump the bag full of shredded leaves into the compost pile.
* MAINTAIN TOOLS. Your last act in the fall garden should be to put an edge on all your tools, from hoes and shovels to pruning shears, then wipe them down with oil (machine oil for metal parts, linseed oil for handles) and store them in a dry place for the winter.
* MULCH EVERYTHING. Put a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch around half-hardy plants, on bulb beds that might otherwise heave during hard winter frosts, and under trees and shrubs.
* PRUNE TREES, SHRUBS. After leaves fall from deciduous trees, you can prune. Do your work on a mild day (not when it's subfreezing), removing dead, diseased, and injured branches, water sprouts, and crossing or closely parallel branches. Then prune for shape.
Pest and weed control
* INDOOR PLANTS. Examine house plants for aphids, scale, spider mites, and mealybugs. Rinse infested plants with lukewarm shower water, then spray with insecticidal soap.
* WEEDS. Now is the time to go through the garden and hoe the fall crop under. Throw weeds into the compost pile if they don't have seed heads or flowers, and replace them with mulch.