So if you read me last week, you’re certainly dying to know—what else is on that chart of problems? What other horrors confront our heroic, beleaguered organic vegetable farmer? So far, on the chart we’ve got weather, new pests, and new diseases.
Well the worst is yet to come. And it’s name is Bambi! Yes, that sweet little fawn and her mommy, daddy, aunts and uncles are the bane of us poor vegetable growers. A few deer here and there are fun to see and seem so benign. But when the state game commission allows the population to explode, as they have here in Pennsylvania, the deer become their own worst enemies and the worst enemy of agriculture.
It’s not unusual for us to go out at night with a light and see herds of 15 or 20 deer in the middle of our vegetable fields! These are big animals (adults can weigh hundreds of pounds!), so you can imagine how much they need to eat, and they love our crops. Two bites for a young head of lettuce. A nibble on a beet. Browsing vast stretches of young bean plants. Their smorgasbord is our nightmare and financial disaster.
We go to a lot of lengths to exclude them, measures that cost us lots of money and time, but sadly, as time passes the deer figure out ways to overcome our best barriers.
So we need to hunt! We should have realized this months ago, but we didn’t know how bad the problem was. So we’ve just started a program of aggressive hunting. The game commission doesn’t deter us. We’re allowed to hunt any deer any time, if they’re damaging our crops.
If we work at this hard enough and long enough (while eating lots of venison) we are fairly sure we can lessen the threat significantly, but it’s too late in many cases to save crops this year. Still, it should help in future.
Meanwhile, out there in our pristine, remote fields, the deer aren’t the only ones munching. Raccoons and birds love ripe, sweet corn as much as you and I do, groundhogs can make a quick lunch out of a few dozen broccoli transplants, and on and on...
Tune in next week for a surprising (maybe)and totally different kind of problem hurting our ability to make a living. And here’s a hint at what this problem is: it’s down the street in Washington! But we think we may have a solution!
See you Saturday.