Greetings, friends! This post comes courtesy of a reader question I got from our friend and loyal reader, Jim. Jim wrote:
My wife lovingly plants a veggie garden every year. 3 years ago we lost our last dog and for the past 3 years rabbits have eaten our entire veggie (raised) garden – ugh! We’ve tried everything except a chicken wire fence (she claims that will be too much of a hassle to weed/garden around). Have you got any suggestions? We can’t get another dog because our granddaughter is allergic to them.
Being that this is quite the common problem, I thought I’d address it in a post. First, let’s talk a little bit about rabbits and their eating habits (hey, that rhymes!)
Rabbits like to feed at twilight, but are pretty non-picky as long as they get their meal. Their main preferences as far as vegetables are: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. They also like very young fruit trees.. Being that rabbits reproduce at quite a rapid pace, they can quickly overtake your garden similar to a scene like Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.
Rabbits and other pests are quite common to most people’s gardens, but there are humane ways to rid, or at least ward off the fluffy intruders; ways that don’t include the hassles of a trap or the finality of a .22. 🙂
Here are some tips for keeping your veggies safe from our fluffy friends:
1. Put a fence up, and put it up early. I know: they are a hassle, those chicken wire fences, but it is one of the best ways to keep rabbits and other intruders at bay. My elderly friend and mentor, Pete, makes a 6 foot high chicken wire fence with wood supports and a door, that looks like a giant see-through room. People go in and out via the door to weed and gather the goodies, and the large “room” he creates every year keeps out the many would-be visitors, including a small, long-time resident black bear.
2. Scare them away with smell. “Rabbits sniff everything”, my gardening book says, “and after a sneezing fit, they’ll move on”. Sprinkling black pepper on your plants in the evening will send those wascally wabbits running from your garden plants in a fit of sneezing, so the experts say. Another option is, if you can find their path from their home to your garden, you can sprinkle the path with moth crystals. (no affiliate links within this post) Don’t use plain mothballs, however, as they can be dangerous and appealing to kids due to their resemblance to candy. Another tip suggested sprinkling blood meal around the edges of your garden and/or on your plants will scare rabbits away as well, fearing for their very lives.
3. Utilize companion planting. Companion planting has been used for centuries as a way to help plants grow better. Planting certain plants next to other plants not only encourages better growth, but can ward off intruders as well. For instance, planting marigolds in your garden can help ward off certain flying insects with their bright color and intense (to the bugs) scent. Rabbits in particular dislike onions, so surrounding your lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli with onions, chives and garlic can really do wonders for warding off those pesky “wabbits”.
Jim, and my other gardening friends, I hope this helps a bit.
How about you, readers? What are your tried and true tips for keeping rabbits from eating your home-grown goodies?