QUESTION: Do deer like to eat carrots? Can I grow carrots at the edge of my yard to lure deer away from my vegetable garden? – Paul R.
ANSWER: Deer enjoy eating carrots so much that some people grow carrots especially for the deer if they are managing deer habitats or need a crop that’s attractive to the deer that will distract them from the rest of the garden. Deer eat both the leafy greens that grow above the soil and the carrot root itself, which they pull up from underground.
How late can you plant carrots for deer?
Having a well-maintained food crop is one way to lure deer to an area. Carrots are fast growers which typically reach maturity at around 60-90 days after sowing. Knowing this, as well as how carrots are at their premium when they reach maturity near winter time, you will easily be able to figure out when the best time is to plant carrots in your region.
Generally, deer do not like to eat carrots in the middle of the spring and summer. Around the first frost during October to May, carrots become sweet and appealing to local deer. Both the tops and the roots will then be eaten by deer once winter blows in.
In Northern regions where winter comes sooner, it is best to plant carrots sometime during the late summer months, or around the July and August. For those who are in Southern regions, however, temperatures get cooler much later. So the best time to plant carrots in these zones would be during early autumn, around August to September.
Although these are the recommended plant dates, they are not strict down to the exact day. Do not panic if it has passed these times and you still have carrot seeds to sow. The optimal time to plant your carrots may still depend on the climate in your area, that can vary greatly from location to location.
If you do not want to grow carrots as a lure crop, consider planting these deer proof plants.