The Battle of Sylvilagus floridanus (Cottontail rabbit)

The battle has just begun. The lines have been drawn and the enemy has been sighted.

I began scouting the territory in an attempt to locate the the wily villain and took these pictures. It was a difficult mission.

I crept closer and closer to the encampment of the enemy, stopping often to cautiously take reconnaissance pictures. I was afraid of discovery. My enemy has an extremely keen sense of hearing and it's awareness of its surrounding borders on the supernatural.

Preliminary reports indicate that this enemy of the garden is the infamous Sylvilagus floridanus. Gorilla warfare on vegetable gardens is their main strategy for world domination. While seemingly benign, these cute little furry creatures can decimate the tender crops of the home gardener in minutes. They will wait until the cover of evening darkness approaches then sneak into the garden to eat the tender young foliage. The Eastern cottontail rabbit has a voracious appetite and something must be done to protect the garden at all costs.

The Line Has Been Drawn.

The raised bed vegetable garden is now behind a border fence. Although it may not be the most attractive fence it will keep the voracious rabbits from entering the vegetable garden. The wire fence is covered with a vinyl coating that will prevent it from rusting in the weather and keep it safe for tiny little hands to touch. I fashioned a makeshift gate out of the remaining fencing material and a bamboo stake. By weaving the bamboo stake into the fencing it will keep the flap pieces together.

I plan to improve this fence over time by adding wooden posts and a picket fence but for now this will do. I needed a quick, easy and cheap fence to install and this wire one fit the bill. Outside of the fence area I will gradually plant perennials, shrubs and annuals as I create a circular garden around my vegetable garden. An extra advantage with this fence is that it can double as a trellis for vine plants like beans, gourds, and various flowering vines. I plan on installing plants that rabbits may not particularly enjoy, things with a strong scent. Like rosemary, Russian sage (I love that one), salvias, and various herbs. I'm still planning on installing my herb garden layout (it will be where the garden gate is) but I want to incorporate some of those scented herbs into the garden ring to dissuade rabbits from their sorties.

I've seen mixtures and deterrents that you can use but they often require reapplication after rain. There are some homemade rabbit deterrents that use hot pepper powders in them, but these require that the rabbit actually taste the plant. When they discover the strong taste they decide not to indulge themselves on your vegetables. The theory is that they will learn not to associate those plants with a food they like. I'd rather the rabbit not even get close to my plants! A fence for me is a better option. The truth is I like the rabbits, just not in the vegetable garden. From time to time I've found their droppings in the yard which I'll move to the base of a plant or a garden bed as an all natural fertilizer. I wouldn't be opposed to owning a rabbit for this very reason but I don't want to have to care for one at this point.

Yes Peter Cottontail, you are not welcome in the Veggie Garden!