Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Take That, Rabbit

I thought birds or insects were taking out my okra seedlings, until I saw the furry little culprit scurry out of the garden yesterday. I interrupted it mid-meal, so sadly the chopped off leaves were left to waste. I have no rabbit fences, because I have rarely found them very destructive (and the taller cedar planks of most of my raised beds discourage them, but this was a shorter bed). Thus this defense, upside-down bike panniers and other assorted baskets:
Once the seedlings get a few inches taller than this, the rabbits will leave them alone. They really seem content to munch on clover most of the time, so other than a nibble now and then, little damage is done. But I just remembered I did not cover my asters, and I bet they are toast. I remember them being eaten very quickly last year, and I was surprised to see them growing back this spring.

The other pest in the garden right now (all year, really) is the cabbage moth. They seem to leave the turnips, radishes, tat soi, and arugula alone, but other brassicas like collards and especially kale, are devoured. My solution has been to keep the kale seedlings under row cover. I'm starting cucumber seeds here as well, so maybe this will help protect them from cucumber beetles for a little while at least.

I started these inside early, and this is the most success I've had with kale so far, though I am worried the heat may make it bitter.

Finally, I'm keeping an eye out for squash vine borers on my lemon squash, buttercup squash, and this delicata squash.
It should be under row cover also, but I installed a trellis over it and made it difficult for myself. I wonder if the tat soi blooming all around it is somehow obscuring the squash or attracting beneficial insects to protect it. Fingers crossed.

Other than some tough radishes (heat, lack of water), all in all, things are going well at this transitional time of year, especially considering I took a 10 day vacation. The spinach has bolted, but the fava beans (best harvest ever!) and peas just might produce one more time. I find every time a seed packet says it does not need support, then it will need it even more so. These progress number 9 peas have flopped all over the place.
We have gobs of lettuce, many spring onions, beets, and turnips that I hope will not share the same fate as the radishes and be too tough to eat. We already have green tomatoes, the peppers and eggplant are biding their time, and the bean seedlings are up. Now I just sit back and wait.


  1. This is the first year I am not gardening on an apartment balcony, and I'm very worried about the rabbits. I see them all in my yard, and I'm wondering how mu veggies (tomatoes, peppers, squash) will fare.

    1. You may want to proceed with caution--a low fence will do the trick. There are certain things they love (bean seedlings, carrot and radish tops) and others they ignore. I think it also depends on what else they have to eat--I read they love plantain *and I know they love clover. I watched one munching on my coneflower plant this morning, but then when I looked up close he had barely put a dent in it, so I'm inclined to enjoy the cuteness. We have a neighborhood hawk, and I just don't want to see him get taken out while I'm eating lunch!