Tue 22 Jun, 2004 04:06 pm
I want to grow raspberries or tomatoes in my yard, but we have a creek and woods out back, with critters all around. Rabbits, deer, raccoons, possums and more (including an amazing array of birds). Is it hopeless? Am I doomed to rely on the farmers' markets for fresh produce? I'm not a country girl; I've never lived around so many wild animals before...
I'm also not a gardener, but I'd be willing to try planting something. I wonder if those patio tomatoes would be safe somewhere.
You'll have to fence it in to keep the deer out at least. Coons and rabbits are a different story, but you can keep them out with some effort.
You won't need a really high fence, maybe 5' high, chicken wire. What you do then is collect branches from the woods and thread them through the top few runs of chicken wire - this makes the fence look higher. Deer are fairly stupid and won't realize they can easily jump the fence, because the sticks are up there making it look higher.
Another option is to get a dog (or two) that runs free out back.
Most tomatoes need full sun--depending on how wooded your backyard is, you may have difficulty getting a high yield even if you can keep the animals away.
I'm no gardener but I recall that my Dad use to put cheesecloth or some light fabric above the strawberries and raspberries to keep the birds away.
Deer and other ground animals tend to not like strong-smelling or tasting plants, so you might want to plant onions around the border of your tomato garden.