Foiling the Evil Rabbit

Last week I spent time in the garden weeding it for planting.  There weren’t many weeds, because I cleaned up well last fall and laid down a good layer of compost.  But it took me a while, crawling around, making little piles of weeds, and helped me think about planting this year.

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Some people have been active cleaning up and planting and some haven’t. My garden neighbor Mike has been in his plot and has plans for vegetables and flower borders.

Over the winter, I thought about how to shelter plants from rabbits and looked in gardening catalogues for more covers like the one I have been using for several seasons now.  I decided buying more could be considered either 1) costly or 2) an investment.

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This one, which I’ve used upright over a single plant or in a small row, like this, has been really handy. And it’s attractive.  Also, there would likely be no parsley now without it.

As I thought further I realized that the little shapes were for small plantings, like the one sheltering my parsley, or individual plants.  Last year the cloth cover on my growing tunnel saw its last season and I had saved the hoops, thinking I could get new cloth.  Then it occurred to me that I could use them as supports for chicken wire.  I bought a roll of the stuff for $14 and spent $20 more on a pair of good wire cutters. I was still under what I would have spent on the number of pretty chicken wire cloches and short row covers I calculated I would need.

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These little blue flowers are an invasive weed, but I saw honey bees on them last week, so I left a few.

So yesterday I went back to build some chicken wire covers for a whole row.  One of the first things I did was manage my expectations.  They would be functional, but not nearly as charming as the covers I could buy.  I gave the garden a good hoeing and then got to work looping my wire hoops through the chicken wire lengths.  At first I had thought I would weave the hoops through, but working with actual chicken wire made me realize the folly of this.  I looped through in one place at the center of the wire.

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Luckily I have heavy gloves and my tetanus shot is up to date. This was the first, longer row in process.

By the time I had created a short and long row, I needed to get the seed packets I had chosen out and figure out what I was going to plant.  I put some unsheltered arugula in near the parsley.  The rabbits often don’t eat it if it’s peppery, but I’m taking a risk.  Then I chose some beets, carrots and radishes to put under the chicken wire.

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I sorted seeds by early and late spring plantings in February.

Then, overnight it rained. Perfect.

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I had to use hardware cloth staples to tack down the wire in a few places. I’m using the plastic jugs as growing domes for tomato and eggplant seeds. We’ll see how things work. I have more chicken wire left so there will likely be more shelters for lettuces and other things the rabbits like…

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38 Responses to Foiling the Evil Rabbit

  1. It looks like you’re off to a good start, Lisa. I’ve worked with chicken wire before for similar reasons (it’s affordable and readily available), but like you I also found it tricky to work with and worried about “putting out an eye” as my mother used to say. You’ve managed beautifully, though. I hope it does the job and keeps your bounty coming strong all season.

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  2. Great solution, and to me, the ones you bought don’t look that much better than the ones you made. Anyway, hope those wascally wabbits are kept at bay. I

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  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Clever, economical and purposeful – I love it. A positive start to the garden season.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think your homemade chicken wire anti-lapin concoctions are far more aesthetic and creative than anything pre-made that could be bought. Excellent, Lisa!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robin says:

    Looks like you’re off to a great and creative start. I hope your clever covers foil the rascally rabbits.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I see hordes of starving bunnies lying hopelessly about on the streets of Arlington, croaking ‘Can yer spare a carrot mate?’ (Oh wait, that’s English bunnies……and possibly frogs….. ) Chicken wire is what we tend to build most things with down here – that and corrugated iron – so if you decide to immigrate you will pass the first part of the immigrants test.. Personally I hate the stuff., my body has been gouged to pieces with various projects over the years and why does it always go for our eyes? But it does have it’s uses and garden tunnels are one. Happy growing Lisa 🙂

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  7. Looking good, but don’t the rabbits burrow under the wire?

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  8. KerryCan says:

    Poor little hungry bunnies. 😉 Your solution looks very effective–resourceful of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. They look like excellent protection. Rabbits are all very well but in the end you have to take countermeasures. I once worked on a farm where we had to reseed 10 acres due to rabbit damage. Part of my countermeasures consisted of eating the malefactors.

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  10. tonytomeo says:

    I don’t mean to change the subject, but is that invasive weed with the little blue flowers new in your region? We now know it as creeping speedwell, and it is everywhere. I say ‘now’ because we had never seen it before. It showed up last year – everywhere – at the same time! It was as if the seed rained down from the sky all over California. That is so weird. It is not as if it crept in from somewhere else. It is just as new in San Francisco and Los Angeles as it is here. It is not too bothersome, but we really do not know much about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sylvie Ge says:

    And some of us thought gardeners just put seeds in the ground and wait , doing nothing, until nature provides its fruit in great generous quantities.

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  12. smilecalm says:

    good effort!
    hope he does
    not team up
    with gophers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Maria says:

    Very clever, and humane as far as I’m concerned.

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