Vanquishing the Killer Rabbit

I went to the garden this week with a strategy in mind. When I was getting my seeds, I had a look at protective coverings. My intent was to do battle with descendants of the killer rabbit of Caerbannog.

KillerRabbit

At least my rabbits only kill vegetables.

Those of you who have seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail (if you haven’t I recommend you do; I laughed helplessly throughout it.) know that Tim the Enchanter took Arthur and his knights to the cave of the awful beast. The knights were unimpressed and unobservant (“Look at the bones! That rabbit is vicious!”) and thus slaughtered. Since I am tired of having my lettuces, carrot tops, beet greens, radish tops and assorted other young crops devoured, I ordered three different kinds of covers. One is a simple chicken wire cloche. I planted radishes underneath and pinned it down with garden cloth staples.

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This can be set up in a variety of ways, as a row cover or a cover for a taller plant.

The other cover claims to be an “accelerator,” meaning, that things planted early can be protected underneath. Rain also comes right through this. It has zippers at the ends to make it stand upright and folds neatly flat when not in use. I got this and the Cloche from Gardener’s Supply. I planted beets under this one.

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This reminds me of camping gear.

The third one is a nifty hoop and fleece cover contraption, eight feet long. I hope that I can use it in the fall and winter as well. It has a nice drawstring to make the cloth tight. I was pleased with how easy it was to set up since the fleece is attached to the hoops already. This is sheltering spinach and a row of carrots. Let’s see what happens!

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Here they are, accelerator on the left and hoops and fleece on the right.

I also harvested some of my lettuces from the cold frame. They were infested with either aphids of white fly, but they were drowned in the washing. I left the cold frame open as it has been so warm, and planted a row of arugula and a row of kale, neither of which are tasty to the rabbit. Who knows if I will be victorious! If not, at least I’ve got some good row cover for the fall.

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No greens to purchase this week. If you look closely, you’ll see one of the varmints at the bottom of the top lettuce leaf…

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61 Responses to Vanquishing the Killer Rabbit

  1. Mary Tang says:

    Can’t wait for the next episode – good luck πŸ™‚

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  2. You are being more kindly than Mr. McGregor, against those lagomorphs. And if they should still outwit you, I know where you can get a good recipe for rabbit pie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      I and fellow gardeners have had fantasies about Mr. McGregor coming to our garden. Last year, one of the gardeners called the little lagomorphs “spawn of satan” in an email. It was hilarious. Rabbit pie. Hmmm…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sylvie G says:

    It’s going to be hard for the rabbits this year !

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  4. Oh poor bunnies, poor you ………… perhaps the garden will eventually be covered with a variety of bunny proof cages for growing things in and the bunnies will be lying about complaining of the miserly and mean human who is starving them of all the goodness beneath……… If only they would learn to taste and move on, leaving some to share……. I felt this way once about the possums who had moved in via swimming the Tasman Sea, specifically to strip my roses, my lemons, my tubs of lettuces and so on – they mowed everything level with the deck railing and then worked their way down to deck level and I felt murderous towards them. Had there been such a thing as possum stew I’m pretty sure I would have cooked it up. It is fresh in my memory as it occurred in the house next door to where I am currently visiting. Now the possums have been eradicated from this area and the greenery is growing freely………..

    Your lettuce looks pretty good despite the white fly [is it white fly?] I shall look forward to hearing how the various covers perform.

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    • arlingwoman says:

      Actually, you CAN eat possum, though they are singularly unappealing looking. I’ve never had it, but know people who have. And there’s plenty for them to eat otherwise without munching veggie sprouts. Down to nothing as you say. Of course it looks like a smorgasbord to them! Not sure how it will be this year, but we’ll see. I couldn’t tell whether or not it was white fly on the lettuce. Could have been aphids, too. They didn’t do much damage. I need to look it up, Things left in the cold frame too long seem to attract white fly, but they may look like aphids in their early stages. In any event, I could be eating a few of them with my lettuce if I didn’t get them all washed off!

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    • Pauline, what a nightmare. Our possums don’t seem that interested in the garden. I’m not sure why but I’m counting my lucky stars. Squirrels and rats are a different story.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mr. McGregor was one of my favourite Beatrix Potter personages – especially since his was where Jemimah Puddleduck sat on her eggs. You must be kind to Peter Rabbit – but failing that, I have lots and lots of rabbit recipes over and above a pie. They are a lot easier to skin than a chicken is to pluck!

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  6. I believe the secret is to bury mesh at a good depth around the perimeters, otherwise they burrow

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    • arlingwoman says:

      That certainly worked with the bean enclosure, which I have to rebuild this year. I do hope they don’t squeeze under row covers to eat in privacy! I dug the bean enclosure mesh down about 8 inches, but that was to keep voles out.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Great pest control – it seems it is always one thing or another in the garden! The hoop ought to really extend your growing season. Kale for Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. KerryCan says:

    You’ve gotten serious about denying those bunnies your veggies! It’ll be interesting, since you have three different approaches, to do a sort of experiment to see which ones works best. Then you can get more of the kind that seems to meet your needs. What gets planted in all that uncovered space? Things bunnies don’t like?

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    • arlingwoman says:

      Well, I did plant a couple things they aren’t interested in–arugula (the peppery kind, not the hybrid-tilapia- alternative-to-fish kind) and kale. they haven’t bothered tomatoes, squash plants, eggplant and other summer crops. I will need to rebuild the bean enclosure, as they eat the young plants as they come up, but since I won’t be planting beans for a few weeks, I have time. The beasts don’t seem to bother chard either…

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  9. jennypellett says:

    It does look like camping gear – for rabbits! Can you just imagine…
    Good luck with deterring the little critters. We are plagued with squirrels who are just as destructive – burying their wretched nuts in our lawn and then digging them up later. No, I don’t think they are cute. As I read somewhere, they are only rats with good PR.

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  10. I hope those covers and frames do the job. As long as you don’t have underground noshers, you’ll be in good shape. A friend years ago planted a garden, only to have it all pulled underground. Every last morsel. That would be so discouraging.

    Ah, spring is here, Lisa!

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  11. Brilliant! I live in the Boston area, so the ground is still a bit frozen. Can’t even think of planting lettuce for another few months. 😦 Yours looks DELCIOUS.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Garden is looking good. You can build rabbit-proof fencing by bending the bottom 8″ or foot out at right angles and laying it flat on the ground. I was dubious at first but it has worked for two years now.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hemangini says:

    hahaha it’s like protecting your new born from mosquitoes…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Robin says:

    I laughed immediately at your reference to the killer rabbit of Caerbannog.. I’ve seen the movie several times, and it always makes me laugh. Even with the varmints, the greens look good. It will be most interesting to see how your contraptions work. The fencing around our vegetable garden obviously has a secret entrance designed just for rabbits, and we occasionally find one sitting inside enjoying a meal of our vegetables.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Oy. To be really effective, I think the wire or screen has to be buried 6-8 inches down. That’s why my bean enclosure was seemingly impregnable. I still laugh helplessly at Tim the Enchanter and the Killer Rabbit whenever I see the movie…glad you got a laugh from it as well.

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  15. BunKaryudo says:

    I remember that scene. It’s one of my favorites in the movie. I hope your protective measures work and the wildlife around you doesn’t find any way to terrorize your plants. πŸ™‚

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  16. In Canada I once had a Spring invasion of killer rabbits eating away my lettuces, spinach and what not. Then mom Fox came living at the back of the property and she had sweet cubs to feed…excellent, it solved the rabbit problem in no time and spinach was back on the menu;0) Here in the city, I use fox urine granules to make rabbits and chipmunks understand they cannot dig holes under my frontdoor steps…it works but I have to repeat it from time to time! Cheers, Johanna

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  17. Boomdeeadda says:

    Look at all those wee tents ! Careful, you may have gnomes and fairy’s move in instead of Rabbits. Tee-hee. I haven’t forgotten about our Poppy Challenge. I do have a package of Blue Poppies I bought in Victoria when Alys and I went. Perhaps I should get them into little pots to give them a chance against your milder weather?
    I did see all the Monty Python movies years ago but could enjoy them again. Mr B actually know’s The Galaxy song by heart and we’d sing it together but I can never remember the whole thing. It’s the guy climbing out of a refrigerator, “Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving, and revolving at 900 miles and hour, it’s orbiting at 19 miles an hour or so it’s recon’d, the sun that is the source of all our power” It’s a catchy little diddy, take a listen…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      Oh, thanks for the Galaxy Song!!! I just loved Monty Python when they were on television and always watched them. This was a favorite and it’s nice to hear it again. I think I’d like gnomes to move in. They always have garden tools in their hands and I bet they wouldn’t eat plants whole. Hmm. There’s a wooded area for them to live in adjacent, but also rose bushes they could set up housekeeping in….I’ll let you know if they like the tents. Or appear at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. LB says:

    So, it’s been two weeks since you posted about the covers. Has one worked better than the other? While everyone complains about the deer ruining their planting efforts, I’m also frustrated by the rabbits. Certainly, I haven’t put the effort in a garden that you have, so I can only imagine how hard it is for you. Just this morning, I noticed that the rabbits have eaten all of the new iris sprouts. sigh …
    Every year, I get to see lovely green Hosta, day lily, and iris sprouts … and that’s it πŸ™‚

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    • arlingwoman says:

      For the flowers, I’d try chicken wire or bird netting over some hoops. They just need to get big enough not to be tasty. I won’t really know whether anything works until I get crops. So far so good. The little spawn of satan haven’t been after my irises yet.

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  19. Chas Spain says:

    Lovely to find your blog and the tale of the killer bunnies – no better way to wear down the good humour of a gardener for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Robbie says:

    oh my goodness, I have had so many problems with critters eating my stuff the past few years, I call myself the “chickenwire queen”…I can relate to this post too well!!! I feel badly for they are so darn cute and their little babies are too. It made me sad the other day when my dog(chance) got into a nest and I heard the all too familar cry (not the first time) of the bunnies being eaten…it was so awful and I realized, I am sooo not a country girl! I did not scold him for he was doing what comes naturally to him but it was hard to see him eat one right in front of me:-( I also realize it is the natural way of keeping them in check in my small backyard, but darnit why do they keep building nests where my dogs find them…I like your protectors-they are a bit neater than my chicken wire!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Oh, they do make a terrible cry. I can remember hearing them in the woods as a child when an owl got them. I’d have been running back in the house and coming out later, though you’re right, it’s the only way to keep them in check. Last Sunday I re-installed my bean enclosure, which is screen buried 6-8 inches down and then wrapped around stakes. Hard to week in there, but at least my beans survive!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robbie says:

        I had the most beautiful golden snow peas all planted and the finches ( small birds) were sneaking between the wires to munch them and did to the ground-ugh-LOL-my fault, I should not of used the wide opening. I am glad your beans survived:-) I will plant those soon and I will not leave any gaps!

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      • arlingwoman says:

        The peas are the worst. I’ve given up. If rabbits or voles don’t get them (and who can blame them? The shoots are delicious.) the birds get involved. You hate to cover everything with bird netting…

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