Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Plantastic! Garden Edition: Keeping Sylvilagus floridanus out of your veggies.


The dreaded Sylvilagus floridanus will eat your vegetables, but they sure are cute.

As TAB and I recently learned, the Sylvilagus floridanus is a veggie garden-plundering little critter. Better known as the Eastern Cottontail, this bugger can eat! And breed! This is all well and good, but if you've got a garden, the Eastern Cottontail can be problematic. If they're using your garden as a personal salad bar, there are solutions that are both Earth friendly and rabbit friendly.

What they love to eat:

Generally, they like sweeter or milder plants, including carrots (duh), radishes, peas, beans, beets, and virtually any flower bud (they are our tulips this spring). In the fall, they'll also gnaw on woody plants as they go dormant, including berry shrubs and vines.

What they're less likely to go after (but there are no guarantees!):

Bitter or stronger-tasting plants, including tomatoes, strong herbs like mint and dill, and spicy pepper plants.


Earth & Rabbit Friendly solutions to keeping Peter Rabbit from eating all of your plants:

Fence it in: A physical barrier like a short fence can work wonders, and it can be done with little more than a few garden stakes and some poultry wire. Two-feet high should do it, as the Eastern Cottontail would rather dig under your fence than jump it. Therefore, it's recommended that you bury the poultry wire at least 3-4" underground so that they can't slip under your fence.

Rabbits can smell danger: and you can use their olfactory protective measures against them. Some things that may be sprinkled in the garden to help keep rabbits out:

Blood meal (used as a fertilizer, some organic versions are commercially available).
Human hair.
Pet hair.

Rabbits also have eyes: Some claim that rabbits can be frightened away by using visuals to trick them.
You can place a length of rubber hose in your garden. Some claim that it will look enough like a snake to keep Peter Rabbit away.
Glass jars filled with water are highly reflective. Supposedly, a rabbit that sees its reflection will be frightened by the movement and will move on, leaving your veggies alone.
Owl decoys (available at garden stores) can also discourage our furry friends.

3 comments:

BJK said...

i'm imagining you both going bald, pulling out your hair in frustration and sprinkling it in rings around your tulips, like in some pagan ritual...

t.a.b. said...

omg the rabbit! but it did eat the pepper plant! didn't touch anything else! feisty little critter...

t.a.b. said...

Haha... There's a "Get Rid of Rabbits" Google ad on the left of the blog now. Wait... Does that show for everyone, or just me?