Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Rabbit

We managed to keep deer, the groundhog, and the raccoon out of the garden, but the other day, when I went for the daily check, and to gather goodies for the dinner salad, I saw this cute little baby rabbit. I tried to corner it with absolutely no hint of success. He could squeeze between plants, through raised beds, and into narrow spaces faster than I could blink. I was wondering how it got in, since the last perimeter survey revealed no gaps. Maybe the kids left the gate open and it got in? But as I chased it towards the closed gate, I saw it jump right though the fence! It was so tiny, that it fit through the standard chain link fence. 2 inches wide?!

Trying to estimate the damage, I noticed that the pumpkin flowers were gone. Which I didn't mind so much, since I transplanted those out of guilt instead of throwing them in the compost bin.  The day after, I went to the garden center to try to buy what I thought was great idea to keep the rabbit out of the garden. I was going to put a net like the one I used to protect the strawberries from the birds, all over the fence up to 3 feet high or so. The guy at the garden center looked at me with pitiful eyes and told me, that's not going to work, they'll chew right through it. You need to use a critter repellent. OK, I
said. Here, this one you can use. Is that toxic? I asked. We eat what we grow there (except for the weeds, of course). You need to stop spraying two weeks before you plan to eat anything, he said, and you'll be fine. Ah, that's a nice solution, right?, I thought. We eat lettuce from the garden every day; I think it's not going to work, I said politely. Then he found a different one that you can sprinkle around the garden perimeter instead, and wasn't toxic. So I bought that.

I had to wait till the next day to apply it, and I noticed that the green-beans that I transplanted when thinning (yes, more guilt...) were chewed up, with only some green sticks left. But there was one plant
still standing with leaves and flowers. Now, to pepper the repellent around the perimeter, I had to "create" a perimeter removing the weeds that grew on the other side of the fence. Took a while, but I did it.

The morning after, it seemed that the repellent was working, but that evening... remember the green-beans plant that still had leaves and flowers? It was only sticks. Sigh. $10 later, the rabbit is still
having dinner on us.

We needed a different solution. We decided to buy some form of metal netting, like chicken wire, thick enough that they wouldn't be able to chew it, and small enough for the tiny guest to stay out the garden. After an expedition to Home Depot, and more $$, we have all we need. We now have to install it all around the fence.

Hopefully, this will keep it out for a while. At least until it starts digging. Now I wish I'd put chicken wire as garden floor! But I guess that rusts and decays too.

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