Saturday, September 24, 2022
Sept. 24, 2022

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Those rascally rabbits! How to keep bunnies out of your veggie garden


Bunnies are adorable, but when they’re seemingly everywhere, wreaking havoc on gardens all over the Puget Sound region, a few tips might help save your favorite vegetables.

Expert gardener Ciscoe Morris said they’re especially a problem this year and they’d eat all his Brussels sprouts, broccoli, lettuce and peas if he let them.

There are a couple of good ways he’s found to keep them from his greens, he recently explained.

One of the best ways to keep rabbits out of the garden, though, is a real hard sell, he said.

Plantskydd Animal Repellent triggers a fear response in animals, according to the manufacturer, that keeps small animals away.

It works great, Morris said, but the mixture of dried pigs’ blood and hot peppers “makes it smells like a pig died in your backyard, and talking your partner into it is pretty hard.”

For those unwilling to take that route, there are always fences, which Morris finds unattractive, and planting in 3-foot-high containers. He said he’s never seen a bunny hop a fence or leap into a tall potted plant for supper.

In the past, he has also recommended a do-it-yourself concoction of:

  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 quart of water

Let that mixture sit for a couple of days until its odor is strong then spray it on your prized plants.

The Farmers’ Almanac recommends placing fake snakes in the garden or creating easy little cabbage meals that lure rabbits away from the garden.

To make the decoy meals, tightly roll a tender inner leaf of green cabbage around a chopstick or bamboo skewer, the almanac suggests. Leave about half of the stick exposed at the bottom. Use a piece of kitchen string to secure the cabbage. “Plant” a few of these in a grassy area away from your garden. “They will concentrate on the easy meal, and hopefully leave your plantings alone because trying to defeat your fence would require too much effort,” the almanac said.

Seattle’s P-Patch Community Gardening Program recommends this homemade rabbit repellent:

Mix the following in a 1-gallon tank sprayer:

  • 2 beaten and strained eggs (strain them to remove the white strings surrounding the yolk, which will plug up your sprayer)
  • 1 cup milk, yogurt, buttermilk or sour milk
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper
  • 20 drops essential oil of clove, cinnamon or eucalyptus
  • 1 teaspoon cooking or dormant oil
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap

Top off the tank with water and pump it up. Shake the sprayer occasionally and mist onto dry foliage. One application will last for two to four weeks in dry weather, the program said.

Morris said the proliferation of rabbits in his Sand Point neighborhood has had neighbors and others wondering if the state has done something to reduce the coyote population.

Chase Gunnell, a spokesperson for Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Puget Sound Region said the state has not done anything to alter the populations of either coyotes or rabbits.

“We know they are residents of the city just like we are and their populations will fluctuate naturally,” he said.


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