Saturday, November 14, 2009

If It Hops, and It's Ears Flop - It's Public Enemy # 1

After spending most of the winter going thru seed catalogs, finding just the right seed for each vegetable for my garden plot, it was time to order. By the time the order arrived, Spring was just peeking around the corner. All those wonderful seeds, I lined up the packets in what order I wanted to plant. I ordered garden stakes so I could tell just what seed was where, I lived gardening, I dreamed gardening, and as soon as possible, there I was, twine on the ground, stakes in one hand and my wonderful packets in the other.
The rows where marked, the stakes on each end, the twine in between, the furrows made, and the seeds sprinkled and covered. The wait began –
And, just as nature intended, the seeds germinated and tiny little plants started to pop up. Here came the lettuce, the spinach, the radishes and onions, and finally the green beans. I was so proud of my garden, taking pictures to send all my friends of the baby plants.
Then one morning, as I strolled to see and measure the overnight growth, I stopped dead in my tracks, my jaw dropped and tightened, my eyes squinted, my backbone became stiff as a board – what had happened to my garden!!! I no longer had green beans, I had an entire 2 rows of little stems with no leaves, no tops, just little sticks – the rabbits had found the garden and devoured all of the green beans.
I sent a queenly plea to all my fellow gardeners – what to do and how to do it ~
De-fence was the solution, spray it around the perimeter of the yard and the rabbits will not cross it – two cans later, the task was accomplished. Three days later the sticks were growing leaves again and all was well in my garden kingdom.
Day 4, I walked to the garden, the beans were sticks again and a rabbit was happily hopping thru the fence between me and my neighbors. The De-fence had failed. Out went the plea again – what to do?
In poured the suggestions, each of one was tried in this order: talcum powder (they ate the lettuce), human hair (they ate the spinach), dog hair (they started to nibble on the okra), hot pepper flakes – the rabbits enjoyed salsa. My neighbor went to the nursery and came home with Hot Wax Pepper in a spray. She had replanted her beans and they were up just one leaf – she sprayed and sprayed, and the next morning – sticks, not a leaf in sight. Then someone suggested dusty miller – so off to the nursery I went, bought the last 4 in town, they were leggy and they were wilty, but they were dusty miller, so I hopefully planted them and watered them like they were gold.
Lo and behold, either the rabbits found better food to eat, or my plants got too big to be tender, or the dusty miller worked the trick, but they quit eating the okra, which other than tomatoes and peppers was all that was left. They still came into the yard, hopping around looking for something tasty, but I thought I was finished with the worst of them.

Then, just before the first frost, I was looking at the baby clematis my sister had planted for me in the spring and it was gone, just gone, chomped off at the top of the cup I had around it.
After a few choice words and more research I am back at the point to last spring – hopeful, wondering what I can do to keep the little hoppers away from my garden, and ready to invest in chicken wire or hardware cloth to surround the garden, the new plants, the yard, and maybe even the neighborhood! Anyone with any suggestions, please post on this blog – they will all be taken to heart!
It is so undignified to see a Queen chasing rabbits out of the yard in her jammies!!!

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