Kitchen Gardening

Keep Rabbits Out Of Your Fall Garden

Ever planted a "Peace Offering Rabbit Border"?

This rabbit could be heading for your garden...   Photo by lostinfog under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

They’re cute, quiet, and really no bother – unless they’re sitting in the middle of your vegetable garden. Gardeners the world over have tossed around endless techniques to keep the furry veggie destroyer on their side of the fence.

Traditional Rabbit Fencing

Fencing rabbit style has been one of the most successful ways to keep them at bay. Fencing your garden to keep rabbits out isn’t complicated. But it does involve money, a strong back, and did I mention money? All you do is erect a fence about 4 feet high around the perameter of the garden. The trick is to angle the bottom of the fencing outward and then bury the bent part underground. This is to deter them from digging underneath.

By the way, I can’t figure out for the life of me why it’s often suggested to use 2 foot fencing for rabbit-proofing. Rabbits can clear 2 feet with zero problems. Plus, part of the bottom needs to be bent outward and that takes away from the total height.

Peace Offering Rabbit Border

I had a conversation with some gardeners who had been at this game for many years. One mentioned that they plant a “peace offering rabbit border” using lettuce varieties around the entire garden plot. She claimed it distracts the rabbits by offering them enough greens that they don’t come in any farther. She thought it worked well enough, if not perfect.

Being someone whose raised domestic rabbits for years (as well as a wild rabbit rehabber) I could spot the problem with that type of barrier. While you could, indeed, distract rabbits with the lettuce fence, many times they tend to nibble a bit and hop around while they’re doing so. Wild rabbits aren’t motionless for very long. So, with a mouthful of your offerings it would be easy to hop right past the decoy offering and into the garden.

A different gardener mentioned that they in effect used the same strategy, but with some additions. They planted their lettuce border, followed by a lawn border and onion plantings right after the lawn. Their actual vegetable garden was planted on the other side of the onions. So, the rabbits could dine on some lettuce and hop around on the green turf to their heart’s content. If they happened to make it to the onions, those would often be enough to deter them as onions are at the bottom of the rabbits’ favorite veggie list.

Here at the suburban farm, I don’t have wild rabbit trouble (I did when I lived on acreage). But since one of my favorite things to do is safe money and labor, I’m dying to give the lettuce-lawn-onion technique a go.

Have any of you planted a rabbit peace offering border as a deterrent to their vegetable garden?

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