STOP! Tomato Thief! STOP!

Deer in ScopeTonight I was going to do another tomato tasting on a God’s Love tomato. Just yesterday, there was one hanging on the vine just as red and tasty looking as you please. This morning, when I wandered out to grab that tomato *ACK!* the tomato was gone. Also lifted from my garden was half my Malabar spinach plants and half of a habanero pepper plant (I hope they are still drinking out of a creek somewhere).

I recognize this thief. She (most likely) has done this before. Damn deer.

I have decided that this fall I will be trying deer hunting. I mean this seriously. I talked it over with my husband a few months ago (my deer hatred runs deep and long) and I feel I would feel better about them eating some of my garden if I got to eat some of them. My grandfather has even offered to let me have his rifle.

And before any deer bleeding hearts go berate me for going vendetta hunting, the Ohio deer population is more than healthy. In fact, there are so many that they are putting Ohio parks and forests at risk due to the fact that there are too many and they are over grazing the understory of the forests.

Beyond that, I only want to hear protests from people who never, ever eat meat. Have you ever seen the way animals are slaughtered? Jeez, at least when your hunting the animal has a chance and had a relatively good life before that.

Nope, it won’t stop them from eating my garden, but it sure will taste good just knowing there is one less.

14 thoughts on “STOP! Tomato Thief! STOP!
  1. Hi – somehow found my way over here via Garden Rant (I think – I’ve lost track). We have deer issues as well, and one thing I have found that seems to work (but you really need to keep up with it) is called Liquid Fence. Smells godawful (like garlic and rotten eggs), but it’s all natural and does keep the beady-eyed fleabags away. Of course, we haven’t sprayed in more than a month, so they’ve eaten every hosta leaf in sight and are probably waiting until my tomatoes ripen before they hit those. Get the concentrate, not the ready-to-spray stuff – while it’s spendy (at least in my opinion), it’s cheaper in the long run.


  2. Mandy on

    The deer are eating everything in my yard! I had a huge wonderful tomato plant that was for my porch they ate the thing down to the dirt. They even tried to get into my big garden where I grow all my veggies. I never thought deer would eat tomato’s of all things. When they got into the bbig garden they even knocked over the tomato stakes. They eat the beans and all my flowers. I have to wonder if they are starving? I never seen them rip apart my yard like they have this summer. I’m over in St. C. Ohio.


  3. It’s been an awfully dry summer. There may be fewer things for them to eat outside your garden. I don’t know how large your space is, but I don’t have a huge problem with deer getting into my garden. I believe this is because I have clover and abandoned apple trees at the back of my property and they prefer to eat there than to come up where our dogs might be. I don’t hunt but we have allowed neighbors to hunt our property in the past, and I certainly never turn my nose at some tasty venison.


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  5. Amy Sweet on

    I read this and actually started laughing because as of this weekend I have made the deicision to become a deer slayer. I planted 26 tomato plants…none left, a row of okra…no survivors, pepper plants, and thier last leg. I will absolutely be taking my bow and rifle and killing the first of many deer this year. They have moved from the “oh how cute” list to “no different than ants, mosquitos, and roaches” list. DIE BAMBI.


  6. Mary Kay on

    I just discovered your Web site recently. HILARIOUS!!! Did you end up going deer hunting? The critters have been spotted hanging around my yard lately, so far there is no evidence they’ve been eating anything. They might not want to wander back in the fall… we might be tempted to eat them.


  7. Last comment before I go and do something OTHER than read gardening blogs, eventually . . . .

    My parents were eccentric hippie back-to-the-land types in the late 1970s when they moved to rural West Virginia with me, age 3, in tow . . . though we all hunt, there’s no way to NOT be outnumbered by the deer.

    The solution?

    “Mark your territory” by peeing around the perimeter of the garden.

    This task mostly fell to my dad, as he could most quickly pretend to have been doing something else in the unlikely event that we had visitors. For years, as a kid, I found this perfectly normal. Then for a while I found it hilarious. These days, noting the deer damage in my garden (and I live right in town–I shouldn’t even HAVE deer!) versus that in my parents’ . . . well, it’s seeming sane again.

    Note: this doesn’t work with vegetarian pee. As you mentioned hunting, though, I’m figuring eating meat won’t be a problem.


  8. Mary Kay on


    I had read about the pee solution as a way to keep cats out of the garden. They were pretty bad at our old house and I thought about using my pee out there. I never got up the nerve to do it though.

    The cats (not mine, did I mention) made it absolutely horrible to work in the beds on two sides of the house or open the windows.

    Fortunately the local cats at our new house only leave an occasional poo.


  9. Ron B on

    The pest that is everywhere is us. Deer don’t bulldoze away the forest and then replace it with lawns and tulips. Deer are part of the forest ecosystem long before we show up, take over and then complain about them coming into our manicured yards.

    The answer to deer damage is effective fencing. No deer in yard, no damage. Sprays etc. still leave it up to the deer.


  10. I know exactly how you feel. I also dream of shooting a deer in the very near future. In the mean time I came up with a low budget contraption that makes enough un-natural noise to keep them away from our garden. It actually did the job this past summer. One might call it a kinetic garden sculpture. You can make one out of an old electric drill and some spare parts for about 20 bucks. I’ve got pictures and free plans at


  11. al metcalf on

    This is an old post I just found but I thought I would add my 2 cents, since (ha,ha) I am one of those that never ever eat meat. Personally just a health reason. But I don’t really like to kill stuff either. However, I am going hunting too! Damn deer killed one tree and ate lots of plants. I’ll give the meat away. Die deer die!


  12. chris on

    I know this post is old, but I just found your blog, love it, and this post in particular really had me laughing. I live in rural New Jersey and love to garden. The deer population is so high here too, that nothing is safe. I’ve lost countless trees, flowers, veggies. You name it they eat it. I hate deer with a passion but wasn’t up to shooting them myself. I was raised in Northern Michigan and thus know how gross gutting a deer is. However, a few years ago I offered to let a friend’s husband hunt in my back yard. I don’t care for venison but they love it. In the last three years he’s taken about twelve deer from the back yard and he hasn’t had to pay to hunt at his expensive hunting club either. Guess what? The four legged buggers are a LOT less comfortable roaming through my yard now. I consider my friend a very, very helpful exterminator.


  13. This made me laugh. The deer in Scotland are particularly fond of daffodil bulbs. I’ve got animal-loving, quasi-vegetarian friends who get a hankering for venison after waking up to find that all the daffodil bulbs they planted have been scarfed up by deer.


  14. Steve the Evil Gardener on

    I came home to 17 deer in my yard. City deer, they are not impressed by me. I’m East of your Cleveland abode in Pennsylvania, I know deer problems. I am cursed with an inability to kill deer. I can shoot the legs off a tick from 300 yards but I can’t kill a deer. My solution is not one many can use,– I have three acres to play with. I put the garden away from the tree line, closer to the road. I grow a sacrificial garden near the tree line next to the apple trees. They leave my garden alone because it’s easier to hang around the apple trees. Easy eating there. As long as I stay away from these aggressive city deer they let me use my yard.


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