Looking for humane ways to keep those “wascally wabbits” from snacking on your lettuce and carrots? The best offense is a good defense: literally, a fence will do the job quite effectively. However, if you opt not to fence in your vegetable garden for whatever reason and your crops are plagued by rabbits’ voracious appetites, consider these alternatives. Did we forget anything humane and effective? Let us know in the comments.
Use pheromones / predator urine to deter rabbits
Many gardeners find urine to be an effective rabbit combatant. Urine emits pheromones, a biological chemical that smells offensive to rabbits. Surely, there are multiple ways to get a urine-lined garden, but here’s a discrete method: used kitty litter. If your cats are already using organic kitty litter, your last step is to crumble or sprinkle their used litter around the edges of your garden.
Trapping is perhaps the most effective way to rid your garden of rabbits. Wire mesh traps can be built or bought (and often rented) for as low as $30 and are reusable. Place traps where rabbits typically feed but near areas of cover so that rabbits don’t have to cross much open ground to get to them. Use any of their favorite vegetables as bait. Check traps at least once per day and release into the wild when caught.
This well-liked $50 trap on Amazon is large enough to be used for raccoons, stray cats, opossums, and groundhogs.
Trap crops are “trick crops.” They are planted a short distance away from the crops you want to preserve and gain the attention of unwanted critters or pests such as rabbits. In fact, trap crops can also attract other critters who will scare away rabbits.
Rabbits prefer beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, cilantro, and parsley. If rabbits are your number one pest, consider surrounding your garden with a few rows of collateral lettuce. Rabbits won’t get move much farther in if they have a steady supply. Or, plant a bed of parsley far from your garden for rabbits to snack on and instead, line the perimeter of your garden with vegetables rabbits dislike: corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, or potatoes.
Here are some potential repellents that you can mix up today using household items:
Combine in a squirt bottle:
2 raw eggs
1 quart water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce
A squirt of dish soap
Combine in a squirt bottle:
1 tablespoon castor oil
1 tablespoon liquid detergent
1 gallon of warm water
Sprinkle any of these around your garden perimeter:
Black ground pepper
Hair snips – human or animal
Dried blood meal
You’ll need to reapply these after rainfall.
Like the idea of repellant but don’t want to make your own? An Amazon favorite is available for $31: all-natural Liquid Fence Concentrate (will make 5 gallons). The product dries odorless and is rain-resistant. It is safe for use on edible crops.
Liquid Fence won’t harm plants or animals. Ingredients include both egg and garlic, often used in homemade mixtures. Liquid Fence also claims to work on deer.
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Creative Commons Flickr photo courtesy of devra