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Gardeners’ Best-Kept Secret on How to Make Your Whole Garden Deer-Resistant

Gardeners’ Best-Kept Secret on How to Make Your Whole Garden Deer-Resistant

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

If Bambi likes to chow down on your vegetable plants and maybe strip your rose buds before they open, here’s great news.

Years ago, the second spring after I had just created a new garden with expensive rose bushes and a big vegetable patch, it happened. Deer arrived very early one morning, and had a great feast eating all my young vegetables and stripping all the tender buds from my roses. Of course, I had heard of deer damage for years, but it had never happened to me. They even ate my emerging clematis vines right to the ground, and when that happens, they never come up until the following spring. If deer (or rabbits) are hungry, tender new growth is their favorite meal.

If you live in a “deer region” here’s what to do. Like everybody else, I immediately went to my local Home Depot to look for repellants, and found plenty of them. One called “Deer-Off” sounded good, so I bought a spray-can of that, and went home and used it to save what was left in the garden. But over the growing season, it was just too much to do…you to have spray constantly, and cover “every leaf.” You also have to re-spray after every rain. Well, I have a huge garden, and it just wouldn’t do.

So in a week or two, I was back at Home Depot to look for something else. The lady running the gardening products section told me her secret…a fertilizer called Milorganite. Ever heard of it? Well, I had. My mom used to use it when I was a kid. I had no idea it was still available.

Milorganite was a revolutionary garden fertilizer introduced in the 1950’s and it has a unique ingredient—human manure. That’s right, human manure!. But relax. It’s heavily processed into small pellets, and has no germs or odor. I remember my mom thought it was a great environmental idea, and used it every year. It’s recommended for any and all plants, and you can use it without measuring anything—it can’t burn or hurt plants, no matter how much you use. But the lady at Home Depot insisted it can stop animals in their tracks.

I did a little research, and found the company that makes it (It was developed in Milwaukee, and that’s where the name comes from.) won’t use deer-proofing as a claim, but gardener after gardener on the internet swears by it. So every spring since, I’ve bought a bag and here’s all I do. I cut a corner off the bag, sling it under my arm, and walk all the way around the garden, letting it spill out as I go. That way it creates a perimeter around the whole area. And believe me, I’ve never seen a deer in that garden for over a decade.

I know, I know. Everybody loves a beautiful deer. But NOT in your garden. Try Millorganite, and see if it works for you. After all, I just refuse to wait all year for my roses to bloom, and after I’ve raised tomatoes, peppers, and other veggies from seed, I sure don’t want them stripped by our elegant deer population. I love them, but now my garden is off-limits!
Milorganite is one of the oldest recycled products on the market, and believe me, it works as a deer repellent in my garden. It’s also a great fertilizer for all my flowers and shrubs—super easy to use.

Read all about Milorganite online at When I first looked for it, I was delighted to learn that home stores like Home Depot still sell it.

One thought on “Gardeners’ Best-Kept Secret on How to Make Your Whole Garden Deer-Resistant”

  1. Catherine Zampitella says:

    I just posted a question about keeping deer away from what I try to grow. I then searched your blog. You had written about using Milorganite. So, I thank you for restoring my hope of successful gardening.

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