Rabbit-Proof Fence for my baby brassicas

I miss working on the farm. I miss being outside and working and getting really dirty and tired doing things. I miss looking scrubby and frumpy and not minding because I was watching things grow. I’ve only done a little bit of gardening since getting home. My dad and I made some flatting boxes so I could start some seeds, and I had some healthy chard, little broccoli and random Asian greens going.

Sadly, my lettuce never germinated… I think it was too hot even though I kept them in a shady spot. I’m going to try again now that it’s cooled down.

But anyway, I prepped a bed to take the baby brassicas. Not quite double-digging, but loosening up the dirt to about 12 inches with a spading fork and adding in some sifted compost from a batch I started last time I was home in December.

I transplanted forty or so seedlings — chard and a bunch of brassicas — late in the afternoon, optimal time, and gave them a good sprinkle. I came back the next couple of days to check on them and they seemed to be adjusting very nicely to their new surroundings.

Then just before Thanksgiving, I went out to the garden to behold carnage…


Something nasty had gotten to my little plants.

My first thought was DEER. Then I remembered where I was… in the middle of suburban Orange County. We barely see squirrels. I wondered if opossums ate broccoli? My mom guessed it was a bug, but I wasn’t convinced. I hadn’t seen any snails or slugs or really anything much other than pill bugs and earthworms and the damage was so fast and so total. Plus, whatever it was was discerning. They ate all the tender baby mustards and left the chard. Picky pests.

On Thanksgiving, I brought my grandma out to see the carnage. She didn’t have a clue, so I asked her to do some sleuthing next time she was on a volunteer shift at our local arboretum. By Saturday I had my answer.



The plant expert said that a snail or bug would eat the plant down to the roots, not just the leaves. And immediately, I remembered riding my bike down the street early in the day a while back and noticing a cute little bunny. Now, not so cute.

So today, I made a fence.


Makeshift, but I think it’ll do the trick. If not, I can always go collect some cat pee to sprinkle around the perimeter.


I wonder if rabbits like spinach or arugula?


Or little pea shoots? They are pretty gourmet. I guess I have to go on a little scavenger hunt for materials for a second fence!


1 Derek { 12.02.09 at 9:42 am }

“So today, I made a fence. An electrified fence. I’ll get those bastards.”

2 Jess { 12.03.09 at 2:41 pm }

Haha. No… nothing so fancy (or inhumane). But today I may need to up the ante since I saw a bunch of nibbling on the tatsoi. Gr!

3 Rory { 12.04.09 at 6:49 pm }

Don’t you have a ferocious guard dog?

4 Jess { 12.08.09 at 6:04 pm }

I wish! My mum said Duncan would be eaten by a coyote if I left him outside the fence to catch the rabbits. Sad.

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