Green beans are a staple vegetable crop in most homesteads, providing an abundance of beans to enjoy all summer. But do deer eat green beans, or is your bean harvest safe from these beautiful garden visitors?
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Do Deer Eat Green Beans?
No vegetable plot is complete without a row of green beans during the summer months. Whether you grow the compact bush variety or tall trellises of climbing beans, this is one vegetable plant that always seems to provide an abundant crop with minimal effort.
But what if you have deer that like to visit your garden? Are they going to eat your beans?
Deer are renowned for their voracious appetites, and they eat a wide variety of vegetables and vegetable plants.
They will eat all parts of green beans, including the leaves of the plant and the beans themselves.
A hungry deer may eat a row of bean plants right down to the ground overnight, leaving just an empty patch of ground behind.
How Do I Keep Deer From Eating My Bean Plants?
Deer are now commonplace in both rural and urban environments, meaning we gardeners need to come up with inventive ways of protecting our crops. A 6-foot plus deer-proof fence is not always practical or attractive, but luckily there are other ways to keep deer from eating your bean plants.
To stop deer from eating your vegetables often requires a complete rethink of the way you plan your garden. We need to transform our vegetable plots from all-you-can-eat buffets for deer into an area that holds little attraction to these visiting herbivores. Deer like an easy life, and will move on quickly if food is not easily accessible.
A quick fix is to plant low-growing bush beans instead of pole beans, surrounding the crop with deer-resistant or repellent plants. A double row of onions planted around the beans may be sufficient to encourage deer to move on. Other strong-smelling plants such as garlic and chives also work well.
Another good option is to plant a boundary of deer-resistant plants around the entire vegetable plot. These plants, such as clematis, may not be edible but will attract beneficial insects to your plot. Globe artichokes are also a good choice, providing a food crop as well as creating a deer-resistant boundary.
Will Beans Grow Back After Deer Eat Them?
Green beans are resilient plants, and they can recover from a substantial amount of damage from deer. However, if you are left with just a stem without leaves, it is unlikely to recover.
Luckily green beans germinate and grow incredibly quickly, so it is worth sowing a second crop. Just remember to implement some deer-repellent strategies this time, or protect your crop with wire mesh cloches.
Deer and Green Bean FAQ
Deer can and will eat just about every kind of bean, from green beans through to soybeans and lima beans.
Beans are an excellent source of protein, and many commercial deer feeds contain dried beans for this reason. Protein is particularly important for breeding and growing animals, as it helps to build strong and healthy body tissue.
Deer will eat uncooked beans, and it is not necessary to cook beans before feeding them to deer. However, if you are considering feeding deer visitors to your garden, check that it is permitted in your area first. Some local authorities have banned the supplemental feeding of deer in an attempt to deter deer from visiting urban areas.
Deer enjoy eating both beans and corn, and will not commonly choose one over the other. Soybeans are a better source of protein through the breeding season, while corn is a valuable source of energy in the form of carbohydrates during the fall and winter months. Both beans and corn are often grown as part of a food plot for deer.
Verdict – Do Deer Eat Green Beans?
Green beans are not deer resistant. Deer can and will eat all parts of the plant if they are hungry enough. They find climbing pole beans particularly attractive, as they provide a head-height snack to browse on!
If you are growing green beans as a food crop, it is a good idea to provide the plants with some protection or use strategic planting of deer-resistant plants to deter garden visitors. A hungry deer can eat a whole row of green beans, including the bean pods themselves, in no time at all!
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