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age old question: keeping rabbits out of veggies

They love me, and I love them (I call them my buns, but they are rabbits and not butt cheeks)and I don't mind sharing (a little) but... it's getting out of hand. Last night I transplanted my edamame, and this morning they are gone. Is there anything I can do, any kind of effective repellent? Anything short of removing them (too many) or caging the garden? I just don't want to build a fence....
 
I don't know if it was rabbits, or what, but something kept digging repeatedly under my garden fence last spring. So I went to Sam's Club, and picked up a 1# Tone's cayenne pepper. I filled the hole in again, and liberally sprinkled pepper on the area and the base of my fence, and it was the last time said interloper tried tunnelling in that spot. I would try sprinkling powdered hot pepper on the perimeter of the area you want bun-free.

Also, aren't there hot-pepper wax emulsions out there that can be sprayed directly on plants?

But I also have more or less caged my garden. We border a national park hiking trail on one side (more or less), and a 40+ acre property left wild, so we have a large volume of wildlife traffic through our area. I figure better safe than sorry.
 
~ True grits, more grits, fish grits and collards. Life is good, where grits are swollar'd.
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I have good luck with hot pepper wax. They really love pepper plants, but once sprayed with said wax, they leave them very much alone. Seems to work well for grasshoppers too--make sure to re-apply every week or so (or according to directions).
 
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edamame are edible soybeans right? You might have something bigger than rabbits on your hands...deer LOVE beans!

When something took the leaves of my newly transplanted strawberries, I got a garbage bag full of human hair from the barber. The scent is supposed to deter animals. Barber said it wouldn't work, that rabbits are so used to people they don't mind, but I haven't lost another leaf yet and we have tons of wildlife--deer bed down in our woods, and 4 years ago we watched twin fawns graze in the back yard.

Of course you have to replace the hair every so often--loses its scent after awhile, IF the birds don't take it all for their nests. But hey, you get it for free so replacing it is cheap enough.
 
__________________________ {=^;^=} Living the good life amid the wildlife.
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We've had good luck with the following method, but it is not for everyone.

Sprinkle human urine around the perimeter of the plants you want to protect. Works OK for both deer and rabbits (woodchucks don't seem to mind it). You have to apply more every couple days and everytime it rains. (We live in a rural area, so we usually "apply" it straight from the source!)

I won't lie though, it's not fool-proof. Most years it does the trick. Other years, the owls move in and solve the rabbit problem. A couple times I ended up shooting the rabbit and eating it.
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Zone 3 NW Wisconsin: Left the city in '98, hardly been back since!
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My grandfather and I tried the human hair thing in his apple orchard, hanging cheesecloth bags full of barbershop hair, as well as scattering it around the orchard perimeter, and many of the trees. The deer not only came in the perimeter area, they ripped the cheesecloth bags down out of the trees and ate their fill of little apples. The scene that greeted us over the next week, well... it was almost funny with the virtually contemptuous way the deer trespassed until we finally gave it up.

That was up in Michigan; must be that MI deer are tough hombres! Wink
 
~ True grits, more grits, fish grits and collards. Life is good, where grits are swollar'd.
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i'm envious, listening to all of you with bigger problems than rabbits. i'm quite sure i don't have a deer problem, though i can wish. and no, the owls won't be coming to carry off my baby buns, alas. we have rabbits and squirrels and that's about it (i live in st. louis). i have heard the human urine thing, and one year tried it (at a different residence) and it worked okay. i think it also just depends on the batch of rabbits. one year pepper spray might work, the next, not. who knows?
 
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I once heard that marigolds repel rabbits. I circled my garden with them and have seen no rabbit damage since.

Jack
 
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How about blood meal? It has worked for me. Also you can buy "predator urine" that seems to repel most herbivores. Stray dogs and cats may still be a problem, but deer and rabbits shouldn't be.
 
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If you have a dog and it sheds apply the fur around the garden. Also let the dog pee near but not in your garden and that will help too. The fur will need to be reapplied same as human hair. Dogs pee everyday and will need little prompting to mark territory.
 
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Actually d, the deer in KY are originally from MI! During the depression they were darn near hunted out and the wildlife department restocked with deer from up in MI.

I wonder what the difference was? Most orchards are outside of town, so the deer couldn't have been simply accustomed to human scent.

?:|
 
__________________________ {=^;^=} Living the good life amid the wildlife.
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botanica, sorry to say the only sure way to keep the rabbits out is to fence.

You're in St. Louis you said. Perhaps you're in neighborhood like mine in Chicago. While I'm in the city, my neighborhood is mostly single family homes and each one has a yard. So, it's not like some of the other city neighborhoods where the houses are practically touching and the "yard" is a slab of concrete between the house and the garage.

My biggest problems are squirrels and rabbits, in that order. The rabbits are by far the easiest to deal with as they can't climb. Wink I usually surround my veggie patch with a short fence and it works just fine to keep the rabbits out. The perennials are often under seige by the rabbits, too, and I will surround the ones that the bunnies seem to love the most with little cages made of chicken wire.

I have a Japanese Blood Grass plant that is regularly mowed to the ground by the neighborhood rabbits if I don't surround it with chicken wire. They just LOVE that plant.

I have two dogs who regularly shed hair and spread urine around the yard near my growing beds and that hasn't helped deter the rabbits or squirrels at all. The rabbits still hop on in during the evening or early morning to feast at the "buffet" of unprotected plants, and squirrels will still attack tomato and pepper plants throughout the day whenever the dogs are inside.

I haven't tried human hair, but the squirrels come up and eat out of my neighbor's hand, so I can't imagine putting something that smells like a human [and would therefore mean "free food!" to a squirrel] around my beds would help at all with the squirrels at least.

Once the veggie plants get medium-sized, the rabbits leave them alone. Except for lettuce...they'll always go after lettuce. After that stage of growth, the rabbits are no longer a threat and I just have to concentrate on squirrel repelling.

I purchased some Hot Pepper Wax this year that I'm going to try on the tomato and pepper plants. We'll see if that keeps the squirrels from raiding the fruits.

Linda
 
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I'd suggest getting a couple of cats. Raising them from kittens is best, as they get used to their territory on your property, but you won't see any rabbits once the cats hit the backyard. Ditto squirrels, chipmunks, and moles. Plus you get a nice companion to snuggle up with on cold nights.

Just a thought.... happy growing! Smiler
 
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WE now have several cats that 'adopted ' us. But last year, for the first time, I got tired of deer, rabbits, wood chucks decimating the garden.
And since I have wooden boxes for raised beds, I made some cages from hardare cloth and fencing to completely cover much of the garden.
It works!
This year, I have more wooden boxes, and plan to build more cages.
Some of these will be 2, 2X6's for a total height of almost a foot.
This also helps.
 
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The right cat is invaluable...

Had a pure white longhair with mismatched eyes for ten years. Absolute H3!! on mice, rats, rabbits up to full-grown size, and especially other cats. Unless we intro'd a kitten over time, she'd tear into another cat--or 2 on one occasion--that she cought in her yard. Gave the neighbors mini-dachshund a whipping a couple times too!

LOL--watched her following around a young groundhog one day. It would turn and hiss in alarm at her, she would act as if she didn't know it was there by studiously examining a paw or blade of grass, then when it turned and began to walk away she would follow about 3' behind and seeming very excited/interested in it. Don't think she did more than watch, but it was awful concerned with her and she was not at all scared of it.
 
__________________________ {=^;^=} Living the good life amid the wildlife.
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botanica,

I know adding a fence changes how you'll garden as well as the looks of the garden drastically, but it may be your only hope if none of the usual deterrents work. The only other things I haven't seen mentioned here yet is to hang those many junk-mail CD's around to hopefully scare them for a little while, and install one of those motion detector sprinklers to chase them away on a more permanent basis.

Let us know how this is going.
BG Smiler
 
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Completely editorial comment since it does nothing for your problem, but I couldn't resist. A couple of years ago we had a squirrel steeling tomatoes. We watched him grab a tomato, run across the yard, eat the heart out of it and head back for another. I figured he could have a couple so I just watched. Then he grabbed one of my habanero peppers. Went through the same routine. Got a whole bunch of it in his mouth, then that squirrel went totally nuts. Ran up a tree. Down. Across the yard. Must of kept that up 20 minutes. As far as I can tell, never had another problem with him.
 
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Wow, so many suggestions! Age old problem indeed. I think I'm going to have to fence, though it's true, not only does it change the way the garden looks, it also changes the way I work. But it seems to be the only way. I've lost edamame twice and tomatoes once (then I put up small temporary cages -- I'm a quick learner! Smiler ) and for a more permanent solution, I guess I'll have to barricade everything. Does anyone know if rabbits will eat catnip? The natural suspicion, of course, is that a cat ate the catnip, but it's sheared off clean, not masticated with discarded leaves the way a cat would do. Maybe a neighbor with cats sheared it off... dunno. But somehow it would surprise me if rabbits ate it, though mine seem to refuse nothing.

With regard to the pepper spray for warding off squirrels, will the taste of it alter the natural flavor of the tomatoes?
 
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I've got bunnies, raccoons, and skunks. The raccoons don't bother what's growing until the corn's ready ("Mom! The corn's shredded! Looks like they were ripe yesterday!"), they just sample the composter.

Bunnies are easy to deal with. The fence is the best way to go. With my small yard fenced on all sides, I just had to cover the dug-up holes. In one place, I used spare chicken wire and bricks to prevent invasion. Haven't seen a bunny in here since. Which is good, because I've got snow peas coming up now! And they. are. mine. X-(
 
[hr]I have three seasons: GROW, *SEW*, and SEED CATALOG!
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Seems I heard a story once of a cat who refused to accept a pet rabbit...til after it had gotten into a catnip patch.

As for the pepper spray, I would think it would wash right off the tomato skin.
 
__________________________ {=^;^=} Living the good life amid the wildlife.
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moth balls work great as long as your pets can't get to them.
 
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