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DEER LOVE STRAWBERRIES by Andrew Spaulding

    I had planted the 6″ well rooted strawberry plants in a 200’x6′ raised bed full of organic compost, and then mulched the bed with a good 6″ of ground corn stalks(silage). I couldn’t wait to pick next year’s crop. All summer I pinched off all the flowers so the plants would bush out more to get bigger yields the following year.They got close to a foot tall producing lots of red berries from flowers I missed. It was a wet year, and everything grew great.I had noticed some deer eating soybeans on the edge of the field west of CIMCO, a large scrapyard I was working at in Ottawa,IL. Me and my boss had started a community garden of sorts there. The deer Then they started eating just the silk off of the ears of sweetcorn planted in the field adjacent to the main entrance, and had sampled a couple of my miniature watermelon I had laced in between the rows of corn. I never thought they would make it to my raised bed of berries inside the fence,but one morning the unthinkable happened to me, and I was heartbroken. Imagine putting all that work off the time clock, and even part of my lunch break into something, and have it destroyed. There were deer tracks all over the place, and my foot tall plants were reduced to a nub of stems. Only about a third of them survived,but the ones that did were a real treat to eat while tending to other crops.So if you have deer near your garden keep your strawberry plants out of their reach,they love them more than you do.

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