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July 14, 2011 / 74

Mr Gardener – Engage the Rabbit Force Field!

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This rabbit has been a VERY expensive creature!

Above is a picture of my “rabbit force field” (see the energy field?) – aka a 150 foot by four foot chicken wire fence. So far it’s keeping him in the rye/wheat section of the garden and OUT of the veggie part. I tied the top of the fence to the posts, and put horizontal T posts on a 6″ “apron” at the bottom – which I hope to keep him from just pushing under it. the nice thing about that is if he does push under it, he’ll make a path and I have a lot of snare wire… heh heh heh.

Let me detail just how destructive this little varmint has been.

Beets – planted about 275 row feet, seeds about 4 inches apart and a high (75% or over) germination rate = about 600 beet plants lost. When I put the fence up I had exactly 26 plants left – most of them just stumps that will probably recover. $150 – $200

Onions – planted about 400 row feet , seeds near 100% germination, planted 4″ apart = Loss est 75% = 900 onion plants lost.  (There are only 60 plants and stumps left.) $140

Swiss Chard – planted about 25 feet as an experiment (new product). @ 1 plant per foot = 25 plants. There are 5 stumps that MAY recover.

Which is not to say anything about the beans that have been snarfed. I planted 900 row feet of beans and there are these suspicious gaps in the rows… but I still have plenty of beans left, both dry beans and green beans. Curiously enough, the rabbit loved the edamame (human edible soy beans), but totally ignored the Kava beans and the Lima beans. And either the rabbit loved the peppers (including jalapenos), or they failed to emerge at all (300 row feet – HIGHLY unlikely that not even ONE plant would emerge as I planted 7 varieties.) Since I haven’t seen even ONE plant, I have to suspect either the rabbit, or some other unknown cause. (We are finding some chips of chert in the dirt, so maybe the spirits of Indian Ancestors don’t like peppers? ;-D)

Total (conservatively) estimated loss = somewhere between $300 and $400.

And we also lost a new “bogless cranberry” bush to the creature – chomped it right down to dirt.

The really galling part of the whole thing is that we delayed our planting by nearly a month so we could construct our rabbit-proof fence. How were we to know that the rabbit was already INSIDE the garden area??? So we effectively protected the rabbit from predators, and just kinda served him a gourmet organic diet with a considerably varied menu. (He also had access to clovers, grasses, and grains.) Darned rabbit has been eating better than I have!

But – as I said, The BEANS!!! The 400 row feet planted (about 75% surviving) of dry beans are doing well with long pods filled with beans including those beans that look like cows! The cow beans (look like guernseys and holsteins) I’m going to write up a “care and feeding sheet” to go with them, and I hope to sell them about 5 to a package for a $1 as a home milk herd.  ;-D (Assuming a flying rabbit doesn’t get over the fence and eat them.)

And I’m replanting some of the beets – put in about 25 feet of Cylindra Beets yesterday. And (a TIP!) I “watered the seeds in” today. When you plant seeds, be it spring or fall, make sure you WATER THEM IN in order to get the seeds in good solid contact with the dirt so they’ll germinate and grow well! If you don’t do this, you run the risk of seeds not germinating and just lying there and rotting.

Time is getting short – and summer is NOT the best time for beets, although the seed pkg says they do fine and still taste good. I guess we’ll see. If true, then next year I can double crop the beets!!!

When I get the rye and wheat off the ground, we’re going to plant sunflowers – the edible kind, not the pretty flower kind. They make great snacks, and you can press them for oils. (We have an oil press for that.)

Gonna be HOT this week – temps in the high 90’s to 100+. Don’t forget to take your water bottle to the garden!!! And rest from time to time.

TTFN!

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