Ask the master gardeners
Q: I am having trouble with deer in my vegetable garden. Can I use deer repellents on my vegetable crops or must I use a fence?
A: Controlling deer in a vegetable garden can be challenging. A fence at least 8 feet high is the only sure way to exclude deer from an area.
Most deer repellents work by making plants smell or taste bad and they often contain an additive that makes the repellent resistant to washing off.
Many deer repellent products, including organic ones, are not labeled for use on vegetable crops so be sure to read the label before spraying your vegetables.
You might try spraying a repellent on pieces of cotton fabric spaced about 10 feet apart and tied to a fence. This would allow you to use a protective fence shorter than 8 feet and with fewer horizontal wires.
James Lee, master gardener, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Westchester