Cristo Balete wrote:"And other critters" is the telltale phrase in your question. I think deer are the easiest to stop. It's the raccoons, pack rats, rabbits, etc. I think it's really important for your peace of mind to invest in an 8 foot chicken wire fence. Bend the bottom 6" outward to stop anybody from digging, let the weeds grow through that turned-out section to hold it down. I finally started sleeping well once the fence went up. It's also a wall for vines and espaliered fruit trees. It can be used for lots of things.
A good fence adds value to your property.
If you can't do it right away, you can stop critters with egg yolk spray. Foliar spray of 3 egg yolks mixed with water in a 16 oz. kitchen bottle type sprayer. Strain off the whites first. Refrigerate any you don't use, but that will go pretty far. Spray at first every 3 days, then once a week. If it rains you'll need to repeat it. But if it rains, they are right there at 5:00 AM staring hard at all that great green stuff.
Cristo Balete wrote:elle, I meant a fence around the whole garden, not each tree. With a "road" between the fence and the trees wide enough so that the tree limbs don't overhang the fence. Raccoons can use the overhanging limbs and break them. Deer will stand on their hind legs to eat any green leaves that overhang the fence, and can yank down a limb
siu-yu, rain pretty much rinses off soap or egg yolks. Even wet fog will. I haven't found soap to make any difference, and I'd be concerned about putting too much soap into the water and damaging the leaves. Animals' sense of smell is much better than ours, so a light coat of the diluted yolk does the trick.
It helps to clean out the sprayer each time because the yolk can clog it.