Home remedies for protecting your garden from hungry deer include hanging mesh bags containing human hair or bars of Irish Spring soap from branches. You can also scatter shavings of Irish Spring soap directly onto plants. But none of these methods are very appealing.
Martha alternates between two repellents -- Hinder and Bobbex -- in order to keep the deer from getting too used to either one. In the winter, you'll need to re-apply Bobbex every couple of months. Re-apply Hinder after it rains. In warmer weather, use both these repellents more frequently.
Both Bobbex and Hinder are safe for plants and won't harm you. Bobbex, which contains trace minerals that enhance plant growth, was originally introduced as a garden fertilizer, though it was later approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use as a deer repellent.
Hinder contains ammonium. It works by forming an odor barrier that is unpleasant for deer and rabbits but not for humans. Bobbex, on the other hand, has a rather unpleasant smell. Both Hinder and Bobbex are available in premixed hand sprayers.
For larger gardens such as Martha's, it's best to buy the products in concentrated form and dilute them. Martha uses a pump sprayer and adds a few drops of liquid dish-washing detergent to the solution. This helps the mixture stick to plant surfaces.