It’s a sad day when you go to the garden to admire your newly planted tomatoes and see the tops gnawed off. The bunnies are back, and they have invaded the garden.
No, I hadn’t put up fences this year; the rabbits had apparently taken a hiatus, and I haven’t seen any around for the past year or so. I guess they were just taking a vacation, because I seriously doubt it was squirrels getting the urge for greenery (the only other wildlife around).
Defending Against Garden Invaders
Be it bunnies or deer or some other form of greens-eating animal (goats anyone?), how can you keep them out of your garden? I can only speak to rabbits and goats, as there aren’t any deer in my neck of the woods.
In the past, I have used 4-foot tall fences to completely enclose the garden area. Although bunnies could burrow under the fence, they didn’t seem to want to take the trouble to do so. For more persistent wildlife, you may need to bury the bottom of the fence 6 inches down.
Another thought is a spray you can make (or buy) with hot peppers as an ingredient. One munch of a hot-pepper-sprayed leaf and I doubt the bunnies will come back anytime soon. Seems like it would probably work for goats and deer as well. However, it’s a relatively short-term solution; you’ll have to keep on spraying.
I also have heard that bunnies don’t like the scent of bloodmeal — easy to find and relatively inexpensive. The problem is that if you get rain, you’ll need to re-apply. (Then again, it’s a fertilizer for the plants.)
As far as deer and their relatives (elk, moose, etc.) go, I understand that a tall fence is needed to keep them from bounding over into the garden area. I’ve also seen something called Plantskydd Deer Repellent that might prove interesting. It’s rain-resistant so you won’t have to keep spraying so often.
The Poor, Poor Tomatoes
Regarding the two tomato plants that have been gnawed upon, I don’t know if they will survive. Maybe, but if they do, the plants will be rather interesting-looking. I’ll give them a week or so before I decide what to do. If they start growing again, I’ll keep them where they are.
Meanwhile, today I must find my short cages and put them up around the tomato plants. They aren’t tomato cages per se, but they should work fine to frustrate the bunnies (the holes between the wires are pretty narrow — not enough to let the bunny teeth near). The rabbits don’t seem to care for the larger tomato plants, so for the time being, just the newly-transplanted seedlings will get the cages.
Hopefully the garden invasion will stop!
The bunnies didn’t do any permanent damage to either the SuperSweet 100 or White Bush tomato plants (the two worst munched). Several weeks later, SuperSweet 100 is urn-shaped (2 main shoots) but is starting to put forth some tiny blossom buds. White Bush, who I was most worried about, took it all in stride and looks healthy and happy as can be. And yes, it has tiny blossom buds as well.
In this case, all is well — whew!