I have the best garden I have had this year as far as the size of my plants well the plants that survived... I also have a horrible rabbit problem in my garden that began from the start. I never officially saw a rabbit in there, but whole pepper plants tomato plants and bean plants and corn plants disappeared. I thought the problem had stopped for a while. I think what happened is the baby bunnies got too big to fit though my chicken wire fence so they stopped getting into my garden. But yesterday I went out to check my veggies and saw him! A rabbit in the raised garden, he just jumped over the fence when he saw me and hopped into another yard.
I have named one of the rabbits in my yard Houdini for this reason, I had never seen him in there, and also various times I would bait my live trap, he would somehow get in eat the yummy treats I left him and get out without springing the trap. We also do the human hair thing when our kids and hubby get their haircuts at home. But that only is said to work until it rains or there is a dew.
I have had two monstrous tomatoes in my garden for weeks. They have not reddened up since the weather has been too hot for them to do so. So I was patiently waiting and was going to pick them as soon as I saw any blush to them because I was pretty sure these monsters were keeping all other tomato production from happening on those two plants.
Here are my monsters. Yes they are HUGE. If I put two of my fists together it is about the size of one of these tomatoes. I can't tell you what kind they are, my sister-in-law gave me the seeds. They are some sort of Heirloom variety. Yep grew these babies from seeds all myself. But here is the aftermath of my furry friends.
I have been trying to outsmart those "waskally wabbits" from the start this year. Last year my short chicken wire fence did the trick, they kept out. This year however they were able to get in from the start making me resort to other measures to protect my plants. I started by cutting the tops and bottoms off milk jugs so I could transplant my plants outside without them being eaten. I lost a few plants before I started this method.
(You can see my low chicken wire fence here as well. Next year we are going higher!)
The milk jugs seem to work fairly well and I will be using them again next year. The rabbits stayed away from my remaining tomato plants and this worked great for the other plants as well. Until the beans grew taller then the rabbits treated the jugs as a feeding trough yet they never did kill the plant, since they couldn't get to the stem. I did decide to keep them on the tomatoes since it does keep the rabbits from eating the main shoot and they only were able to eat the top leaves. Once the tomato plants were larger the rabbits didn't eat the plants. This was able to protect my summer squash plants too when they were small. I recommend the milk jugs. They worked really well as a mini green house for my little seedlings and did deter the rabbits a bit.
I also use a buried upside down bottle to water my tomatoes like a good friend taught me. This gives water to the roots and avoids getting the leaves wet which tomatoes are not too fond of. I have found this works great and this is my third year of watering this way. One bottle full a day is the perfect amount to keep your plant producing.
So onto protecting my other tomatoes which is my current issue. Lucky many of my fruits are higher than a rabbit can reach on the plant, or so I assume at this point, unless they figure out how to use stilts which I wouldn't doubt they could. But I do currently have three that are lower in the danger zone. So I again turned to some plastic I had nearby.
I stuck plastic bottles around the fruit. I am hoping that this will keep the rabbits from nibbling them. Got to keep thinking on my toes. The bottles just stay in place by being held by friction between the fruit and nearby vines. I am hoping that this may up my gas levels making the fruit turn red faster since it may keep the gas that is responsible for turning ripe mature green tomatoes red from blowing away if it is windy. Yes there is a gas the plant produces that turns them red, that is why you can put green mature tomatoes in a paper bag to make them turn red if they don't turn red on the vine. It helps to concentrate that gas in the bag. Amazing what you can learn online. We will see if my bunny deterrent works and has this added benefit.
In other garden news.
This is all that is left of my pepper plants and one green bean plant. The rabbits have wiped them out. The roll cages work ok, but bunnies can get their tongue in there and nibble leaves. I did however have a good result using these on my starting cucumbers to protect them. But you need to remove them before the plant starts to send out climbers, or you will find yourself needing to cut them off.
I have not had any luck with peppers the last couple years, even with no rabbits, so I am not too disappointed.
Cucumbers and Mini Pumpkins Climbing up!
I decided to use a different method for my cucumbers this year. I removed my metal coffee cans from around the tee-pee and replaced them with a little wooden trench that I filled with good soil. The cucumbers are climbing like crazy and are happy in their new home. I did cover the bottom with the little rolled cages to start but once they got to the climbing stage I removed them. It has been fun teaching them to climb up where I want them, relaxing sitting and wrapping their little climber shoots around the supports. I have many little cucumbers starting but have not picked a mature one yet. A few more days and I think my first one will be ready.
I planted mini pumpkins on the other side again this year. We only got one little pumpkin last year so I am hoping we will get at least three out of our two plants that made it this year. They are climbing up too but not nearly as fast as the cucumbers.
These were started early inside. These two summer squash plants made it when transplanted outside. They are staked nicely on this metal thing someone left behind at our house under the deck. Works good. No squash vine borers yet this year YIPPEE!!!
The zucchini didn't make the transition outside and I thought it was the summer squash that didn't, so I tossed more summer squash seeds down. This means I will have plenty of yellow summer squash this year and no zucchini. Oh well.
I have picked one yellow squash so far. I had a couple shrivel up on me when we were on a two day summer trip. Too hot while we were gone. But MAN is that suash plant huge!
This is a 20 gallon planter that happened to be left at my house by the previous owners. I added the label myself with some paint pens. Then I planted the potatoes at the bottom and filled in dirt as they grew. They were growing really well, then one turned yellow and died, the rest are getting a bit yellow but I think it is due to the hot weather. We will see if this fill method ends up working when we dump it out this fall. No worries if it is a bust. We don't have the garden space for potatoes otherwise and we had the pot, so we wanted to try.
Herbs and Strawberries
Our little herb garden blocks I say are working well. I only planted the three plants. I was not sure what other things I wanted to plant to be honest. We have had a few good sized strawberries out of the tiny strawberry plant. My youngest son was thrilled! But do realize that when you fill your planter that the dirt will settle. It will settle a lot! You need to fill then wait a week then refill before planting. My dirt level is a bit lower than I would like, but I haven't gotten around to getting more soil for them.
Well that is the garden so far this year. The giant sunflowers that we have had in past years bit the dust right away, the rabbits couldn't leave them alone. We planted them twice.
To see our garden in years past check out these links
Do you have any other cleaver ways to keep your bunnies away from your plants?