Deer eating potatoes!

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Pete Q, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Pete Q

    Pete Q Well-Known Member

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    For the last four years that I have been growing potatoes they have been the one and only thing that the numerous deer here have not chewed up. Never needed fencing or stinky deterrents for potatoes, unlike everything else we grow. Now, my current herd of dozen of so has developed a taste for potato vines. Pretty much every plant is only about half as high as it should be right now. Luckily the beasts only seem to like the younger leaves on the top of the plant and so far no plant has been chewed down entirely. I have heard people say before that deer will eat just anything if it develops taste for it, but why this year when plentiful rain and warmth has made the 100 acres of woods next to my property lush and full of food for them? Anybody else seen deer eat potatoes? Is the half-height vine still going to be sufficient to produce potatoes? I have over 1000 feet of potatoes, so fencing or spraying repellent is not exactly an option that my wallet would support at the moment. I can't even find enough people to hunt them here later during the season, as this is one license per person region and no rifle hunting allowed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  2. EDDIE BUCK

    EDDIE BUCK Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here in NC, they developed a taste for cotton and tobacco,when thats all the farmers planted for a few years in a row.I'm like you,theres bound to be something that tastes better than tobacco or potato vines out in the woods.

    Anyway this year theres sweet potatoes planted close by where I live,and every deer around is hitting them every afternoon.I talked to the farmers daughter, whos been shooting them every evening,and she's killed twelve in a field close to me.

    Friday evening she shot out of bullets and I gave her a box of mine, and told her to keep shooting.Lol,Your potatoes will probably still make potatoes.I have had potato bugs to eat them pretty much but still made potatoes.The deer have never eaten my Irish potatoes,but pretty much everything else.
     

  3. elkhound

    elkhound Well-Known Member Supporter

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    i have found theres nothing a deer wont eat..they mow it all down.even when they have a field of clover.here if its not behind electric it might not make it.

    i have decided by next spring i am going to have a acre garden site fence 8 strands at 8ft electric high tensil.
     
  4. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've never seen a deer eating potato vines or seen any damage that looks like they have, for that matter. I use two strands of electric fencing around my garden area, but the potatoes are not in that area. And I have seen tracks through the potatoes quite often this year already, so I know they are out there.....

    I dunno, but the other day I had some insect damage on the vines, so I used some Serenade on them to ward off any possible infections---and thet stuff is stinky!! Being made of bacteria which are supposed to multiply, that may be a good way to kill two birds with one stone, get rid of blighty stuff and repel the deer, too......

    I'm going to try it on some green beans today to see if it repels one remaining, determined woodchuck. I'm getting tired of missing my evening TV programs by sitting out there waiting for him to appear........(Yep, I got hooked on the cute Batchelorette, and NCIS) :)

    geo
     
  5. wvdexters

    wvdexters Well-Known Member

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    I live in deer country and believe me they will eat anything and everything. And they won't stop coming back to your garden once they find it. I have had them actually dig up my root veggies and they will eat everything else to the ground. You'll have to stop them. A good fence is your best option. And a good dog will really help. Don't tie her if you can avoid it. They will learn how far the chain will reach.
     
  6. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    You could always use Paquebot's solution - aged in the sun human urine sprayed in a fine mist on the plants. Read about it in the "Human urine for fertilizer" thread. I think he may add hot sauce to it also.
     
  7. elkhound

    elkhound Well-Known Member Supporter

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    it doesnt[pee] work here on whitetails....and as far as the hot sause...i have seen deer eat jalapenos off the plant and come back and eat leaves stalk and all....i kid you not !!!!

    you should see what they done to a patch of sunchokes....they even ate part of the blooms off my ramps.
     
  8. EDDIE BUCK

    EDDIE BUCK Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is the first year I can remember that no potato bugs were on my potatoes or one even spotted in the garden.How ever its my first year growing Yukon Gold potatoes which probably wasn't the reason,but who knows.They have been harvested and did real well too.
    It seems all the other insects pop grew by leaps and bounds through this previous mild winter.:shrug:
     
  9. stewart-malloy

    stewart-malloy New Member

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    I posted these questions on another thread, but I think you all might have better answers. Here's the question I asked: I've been looking for advice about my potatoes; since you all mentioned potatoes in your garden, I'd like to seek some advice, if you don't mind. I've got lovely potatoes (first time I ever tried!). I thought I was supposed to dig them up, let them cure a bit in the sun, then store them in a cool place with either sand or clean dirt around them. Then an old-timer farmer laughed at me and said I'm supposed to leave them in the ground and dig them up as needed. Well, today I went out to pull weeds and discovered that some of my potatoes are soft-ish. Arg. What's the right way to keep potatoes? Also, I'm assuming it's good to weed the potato patch (the potato plants have all died back, now weeds are sprouting.) Should I keep the potato patch clear of weeds?
     
  10. elkhound

    elkhound Well-Known Member Supporter

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    stewart-malloy...if the vines are dead you need to dig them for sure.deepending where your at you can do a second crop pf taters or you can plant back with other things you like.
     
  11. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    I don't think they'll keep very well in the ground in the summer. And if you have voles they will eat on them if you leave them in the ground anytime. And if you don't have voles now but leave stuff like that in the ground to feed them, you will sooner or later have voles :)
     
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  12. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    Deer will eat plants that you actually spray pee ON?
     
  13. elkhound

    elkhound Well-Known Member Supporter

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    i dont care what i do....i pee in the driveway along the edges in fields woods etc and deer come walking right over it and to me.it would blow ya mind...i even had a set of motherless fawns take up residence under my porch...they would run off inot edge of woods and then come back.i was marking trees that fall for timber stand improvement projects and they would follow me around.they walk up to my chicekn coop,vehicles,tractors,atv etc.

    one year i planted 200 flower bulbs and they even dug them up.

    the only thing they leave alone is milo and once it starts makin grain heads its on...they wiped out about a acre in 2 and half weeks...deer and bear.

    they eat tater vines down to the dirt too.

    its the dangest thing you ever seen.i guess they trust me.


    heres my way of thinking...any critter that can eat a green briar as thick as a pencil with inch long stickers is a eating machine.

    a friend off this forum even wittnessed a frost that knocked the leaves of a bunch of tree of heavens....theres small dozer piles around those trees and the deer ate ever fallen leaf evenon top of the piles when we had gotten back from town....tell you something else i see them eat...with binoculars i seen it.they eat dead brown poplar leaves all year long.they like them green but eattem brown too.

    ok i will stop now..
     
  14. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    The urine must be fermented in the sun. It will stink so bad that not even humans can stand to smell it. Without using any kind of fence, I twice grew a 36' row of sweet potatoes and never lost a leaf.

    Martin
     
  15. stewart-malloy

    stewart-malloy New Member

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    Excellent! Thanks for the advice. I'll dig them up today. I'd like to replant the area with more potatoes. Can I use a couple of my current crop of potatoes to seed the next crop? How do I get them to sprout in order to plant them? (I've only bought seed potatoes from the hardware store.)
     
  16. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Store them for about 6 months in cool dark place. At the end of whatever the normal dormancy period is according to the variety, they will wake up and begin growing. That's why they are so important as a food item since they can be stored for a long time. There is no sure-fire way of cheating Nature when it comes to potatoes.

    Martin
     
  17. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    LOL yeah that's pretty normal but you didn't answer my question - have you tried spraying the pee ON the plants in a fine mist and still had the deer eat them?
     
  18. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Anything to stop deer from eating something has to be on what you don't want them to eat. In other words, spray it on. If it's so vile that you can't stomach it, neither can they. However, for obvious reasons, do not spray it on any part of a plant which you plan to eat.

    Martin
     
  19. elkhound

    elkhound Well-Known Member Supporter

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    no i didnt spray it on the plant. the fence is the real solution for me as i have bear,deer and turkey along with racoons too.

    food for thought.....if stale urine works..why do i see deer tracks around fox and coyote sets where i spray stale urine....just saying..i hope it works for anyone that does it.like i said if they can eat green briars and jalapenos they can eat anything

    i hope to have an acre fenced in by next spring.heres some of the orchard.

    i also now have elk less than 50 miles from me....they can plow down stuff.i cant wait till they show up...i would rather eat elk than squash any day......lol



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  20. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Deer don't care what it smells like when it comes to walking through or on something. Deer will feed with cattle in a feedlot while standing in 6" of manure. The deterrent comes from when they try to eat something much worse than that.

    Martin