Protecting your garden from free-roaming deer and elk can be a challenge, especially as the summer nears a close and sweet, tender garden greens beckon the beasts to come in for a snack. 

Deer gracefully leap over fences lower than 6 feet high, and elk disrespectfully mow down fences in their path.  So what do you do to keep out the four-legged freeloaders if you don’t have or want a fence, and don’t want to poison the neighbors’ pets?

Offer up something they won’t eat.

During the growing months, we spray the garden with a foliar fish fertilizer about every two weeks. The fishy smell lasts only about a day, and the deer walk right past anything treated plants. Really…they will cruise right by freshly sprouted salad greens, beautiful tomatoes, and Swiss chard as if they are long out of style.

If you spray a crop that you decide you want to harvest within 24 hours, simply wash it off with cold water. 

Deer Deterrent Spray


To each gallon of water, add:

2 Tbsp kelp powder

4 Tbsp fish powder

Mix it up in a sprayer, and let sit for a couple of hours (or overnight). 

Spray all over the garden, especially on plants the deer love. 

Where to get ingredients

Grow Organic — Maxicrop Kelp Powder, Hydrolized Fish Powder

Ohio Earth Food — Maxicrop Soluble Seaweed, Micronized Soluble Fish Powder

You can spray right on leafy greens, but if you harvest within a day after spraying they’ll taste a little fishy. We pick a day’s worth of greens before spraying so we don’t have to be careful of where the spray lands.

The spray lasts for about 2 weeks. Our trash pickup is every other Friday, so trash day is spray day all summer long.