Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Friday, April 28, 2006


If you have ever had rabbits in your garden, you will know where I'm coming from. Mind you they are cute but they can destroy a garden in almost no time with their grazing habbits. Aside of members of the onion family, I think they will eat just about anything! I've battled them ever since gardening but here they tend to be a little more numerous as the picture shows. However, being well trained in population genetics, I know the local rabbit population is cyclic. That is, some years you won't see any signs of them but other years they are everywhere. This year appears to be an abundant year for rabbits likely due to the very mild winter we had. At any rate, rabbit control is in order.

My neighbour tries to trap the rabbits but rabbits don't take well to going into the live traps. Our animal control suggests using a net if you can get close enough. Now anyone who has ever dealt with a wild rabbit will know that getting close is rather difficult and if you finally get the rabbit in a net it is going to hurt itself and likely you along with it. I don't think this is a really good option. In previous years, I have found a mixture of cayenne and powdered pepper to be effective but since I think this harms the animal, I only resort to this when all else fails. I really prefer to use measures to encourage the rabbits to move along and eat elsewhere without harming them. I have a motion sensor sprayer calle "the scarecrow" that does seem to be rather effective. It give a blast of water, about a cup, along with a funky noise to scare the animal away. I do know it is effective for racoons and squirrels. Given the rabbit population boom this year, my neighbour feels my sprayer while effective, will not be effective enough and I agree. So a little online search gave a few interesting results.

One bed has already been protected with chicken wire. All the beds are raised so the chicken wire was stapled around the entire bed. Aesthetically, I find this solution unappealing but if that is a last resort, so be it. The chicken wire rises about 2' above the bed. It makes working the bed more difficult but at least it doesn't hurt the animal.

Apparently, sprinkling mothballs around the perimeter of the garden will keep rabbits away. This is a cheap and easy method but I would not use it where kids visited the garden. These things look like mints so I would be very concerned a child would pick them up and eat them. I would not use them directly in the garden beds either since I wouldn't want the chemical getting into my produce. However, my neighbour and myself are trying out the moth balls along our pathways. I'm still concerned though so will try the experiment for one week the remove any remaining mothballs. I really am not comfortable with this idea. I'd prefer staying as chemical free as possible!

Rabbits also don't like bone meal so I picked up a box of that yesterday. At worst, the gardens get a little extra fertilizer and at best, it will keep the rabbits under control. Unlike the cayenne pepper treatment or mothballs it is chemical free and can help the gardens.

I also picked up a canister of Critter Ridder. This is a repellant that helps with dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, and groundhogs. While the label does not specify rabbits, I think it should work. One treatment is good for 30 days so will be more effective than the pepper treatment that has to be reapplied every time it rains. I intend to use this only if necessary and only around the perimeter of the garden. I really hope I don't have to use this treatment!

The final plan aside of shooting them (DH's idea and not one I would tolerate) is to install electric fencing. I think the cheapest out there is called Fido and is sold at pet stores for about $50. In the long run it might be the cheapest solution. It might be awkward climbing over the fence and aesthetically I'm not so sure about. I think you could do it nicely without being too intrusive.

The saga of the rabbits continue...


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