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Homemade deer repellent

After using a commercial deer repellent, I decided to make my own. This concoction keeps deer from feeding on my gardens better than anything else I’ve tried and is less expensive than commercial brands. The ingredients are:

4 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup peeled garlic
1 cup clear ammonia
1 cup Murphy’s oil soap
1 bar Ivory hand soap (optional)

Boil the cayenne in the vinegar for one minute, then strain it through a coffee filter. In a blender, purée the garlic in two cups of water, then strain that mixture through another filter.

Combine the two filtered liquids with the ammonia and oil soap in a 3-gallon garden sprayer. Fill the sprayer to the maximum level with water, and spray this concoction around all of the areas you want to protect. For extra stickiness, float a bar of Ivory soap in the sprayer and let it slowly dissolve over several fillings.

For maximum effectiveness, I reapply weekly, as well as immediately after every rainstorm. More frequent spraying may be warranted if deer browsing is intense.

Stephen R. Grant, Sarasota, FL

From Fine Gardening 80, pp. 10