Do you feel like Elmer Fudd, always chasing rabbits away from your garden plants? These little critters might be cute, but they sure can do damage to lettuce, herbs, beans, broccoli, and other garden crops. Here are some simple tips to keep them out of your garden without having to wield your rifle and pretend it's rabbit season.
Fence in the Garden
Rabbits can't jump or climb very high, so your fence does not have to be tall. However, they can dig – so your fence needs to extend below ground. A low chain-link or mesh fence, measuring about 2 feet in height, is sufficient for keeping rabbits out without making it hard for you to access your garden. (You can just step over the fence).
If you want to install a fence yourself rather than hire a fence company, start by digging a trench about 1 foot deep around the perimeter of your garden. Pound metal posts into this trench every 3 or 4 feet. Make sure about 2 feet of the posts remain above the ground level. (So you'll need 4-foot posts.) Take a roll of chicken wire, and unroll it around the perimeter of your garden. The bottom should rest in the bottom of the 1-foot trench. Secure the wire mesh to your fence posts using metal twist ties. Once you've made it around the entire perimeter of the fence, fill in the trench. You now have a fence that extends a foot below ground, making it tough for rabbits to dig under it.
If you want to be extra certain that the rabbits won't disturb your garden, you can have professionals install an electric fence around it. Click here for more information on electric fences.
String Up Some Tin Pans
This is a good temporary measure to take while you're working on building a fence. It also works well if you just have a couple of plants to protect and don't want to go to the expense of building a fence. Tie a couple of disposable tin pans to a stake stuck in the ground. They'll bang around in the wind, and the noise will scare away rabbits. The downfall to this method is that when the wind is not blowing, the rabbits might approach.
You can combine this tactic with the tin pans for greater effectiveness. Plant a crop that rabbits hate around the edge of your garden. Most of the time, they'll take a nibble, decide your garden is not tasty, and go away before they progress further and find the good crops. Some plants that rabbits hate include garlic, daffodils, and basil. Make sure you surround the entire garden so rabbits who approach from a certain direction don't bypass the repelling plants.