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"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dealing With Rabbits

The Rabbit
June 5, 2009

Wild rabbits are the bane of many gardens. In a very short period of time they can strip your seedlings down to nothing forcing you to replant if there is time. This is my third garden dealing with rabbits and while I have written about them before on this blog (here) I am taking a bit more of a natural and laid back approach to dealing with them here. We are on waterfront rural property. That means we are dealing with a wide variety of wildlife and quite frankly we like it that way!

Most gardeners view the rabbits that raid their gardens with disdain and I will admit to being one of those when I first started dealing with rabbits. The problem with this viewpoint is it immediately puts you at war with the rabbits and trust me the rabbits are going to win this one. What I quickly realized is aside from munching on tender vegetable seedlings, rabbits love to munch on certain weeds. Their droppings provide natural, organic fertilizer to the lawn and gardens as well. Well the logical solution for this garden is to use a barrier to keep the rabbits out of the vegetable garden and protect any tender trees then give them free range of the yard. At the same time I have been judiciously moving them back from the vegetable garden area by removing their habitat. This is an effective tactic but does not prevent them from finding the garden as they like to graze often a kilometer or more from their nest. Baby rabbits are much like baby humans so will chew just about everything until they find out what is edible and what isn't. So if you want to take advantage of wild rabbits for their weed control yet still enjoy your vegetable garden here are a few suggestions.

  1. use a barrier - Use chicken wire to protect susceptible plants or the entire garden. It only needs to be 2' high. This can be temporary or permanent depending on your garden design. An alternative measure is to simply fence off your garden. Soften the look of the fence using a vining plant that rabbits do not like munching on.

  2. use companion plantings - Protect the plants you know rabbits like with companion plantings they don't like. Rabbits love tulips and will strip them to the ground but if you plant your tulips in with clumps of daylilies the rabbits will leave them alone. Surround your vegetable beds with marigolds to help keep the rabbits out.

  3. plant in hanging containers and window boxes - Some plants that rabbits enjoy chomping on do quite nicely in hanging containers so take advantage of that. Lettuces and other greens grow nicely in window boxes out of the reach of rabbits.

  4. pay attention to what the rabbits are going after - This sounds a bit obvious but you might be surprised at what they prefer. For example I have not had them bother with my basil or mints both of which are soft stem herbs yet they will go after my parsley. That means you may only have to focus on what they are eating and ignore the rest. They also don't go after zucchini, tomatoes or peppers so take advantage of that.
Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


  1. We have a lot of rabbits in my garden as well. But, they don't cause as much damage in my yard compare to neighbors. I admit I don't know the secret, but I would like to give credit to my cat.

  2. Like the previous poster, I imagine a dog or cat would be a great deterrant to the rabbits. However, I agree that a fence or a cage around the most liked morsels is probably the best idea.

  3. Dogs and cats are only as effective as when they are out and don't forget a cat has to be a hunter to go after rabbits as well as some dogs can't be bothered with rabbits. Both dogs and cats can create other garden problems by digging up plants and/or using the garden bed as a latrine. Most people don't leave their pets outside overnight either so the rabbits and other critters take advantage of that. A fence solves these problems and in some cases is necessary to keep your own pets out of your garden.


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