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I’m an avid gardener and prefer to do things the natural way. That being said, I spend a lot of time composting, planting heritage fruits and vegetables, and using natural ways to control insects.
But while the bugs can be bad, rabbits can wipe out a garden overnight. So, I’ve developed a number of ways to deal with those critters — sometimes use them in combination.
Whichever method you use, it is best to implement it from the day of your first planting. Rabbits love sprouting plants.
I’ve tried all these methods, and they do work.
Believe it or not, rabbits hate the smell of geraniums. They’re an annual plant, but the seeds are easy to harvest in the early fall to replant around the perimeter of the garden during spring. They’re not a foolproof solution, but when used with other rabbit repellents they can create an effective barrier.
2. Human hair.
Sprinkle some hair from your last haircut around the perimeter of your garden and in between rows. Surprisingly, rabbits are repelled by the scent and may think a human is in close proximity. The hair decomposes and adds to the compost variety in the garden. Dog or cat hair also can work.
3. The plastic owl.
This is an odd one, but it works. You may have noticed, many garden centers sell life-size plastic owls. When mounted on a stick above your garden, they will repel most rodents, including rabbits.
Owl prey on rabbits, mice, chipmunks and squirrels. The sight of your fake owl most likely will keep them some distance from your garden.
4. Rubber snakes.
You can buy rubber snakes at some novelty stores. Scattering a few around your garden will add an additional stop sign to rabbits and most other rodents. Consequently, rabbits hate snakes. Of course, if you also hate snakes it may be a bit unnerving to have rubber snakes scattered around your garden, but that’s up to you.
It’s the standard chicken-wire solution. You drive in some stakes and surround the garden with chicken wire. It requires work and is a bit unsightly, but it’ll at least keep the rabbits out.
Anything that rotates in the wind to create noise will repel most rabbits. Of course, you need wind to make them work, but as an added rabbit repellent you should see good results. Here again, some garden centers sell these types of garden noisemakers, so ask around.
7. Home-brewed rabbit repellent.
Imagine the hottest and stinkiest stuff you have in your kitchen and you’re halfway to a home-brewed rabbit repellent. Think garlic, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes — anything that will make one taste of one of your vegetables objectionable to a rabbit. Here’s a recipe but you can improvise:
- 1 gallon of water.
- 1 tablespoon of crushed red peppers.
- 10 garlic cloves diced.
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce (“Dave’s Total Insanity Sauce” is the hottest).
Put everything in a gallon milk jug and let it sit in the sun for three to four days to get those flavors infused. Then spray or splash onto plant leaves and fruits where you have a rabbit problem, or think you’ll have one.
One note: Some vegetables will need to be rinsed after this application. A first rinse in half and half water and vinegar followed by a clear rinse in cold water should do the trick. This is less of a problem with root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, beets, radishes and rutabaga, because you’re only spraying the top leaves and the roots will not pick up the hot stuff. Of course, if you’re harvesting those green tops you’ll want to do the vinegar and water rinse.
It’s tough when you want to take a natural approach to gardening. The bugs and fungus and critters love to show up at your garden table. Hopefully, though, some of these ideas work for you when it comes to rabbits.
How do you keep rabbits out of your garden? Share your thoughts in the section below: