Z outsmarts the rabbits

We’ve got a lot of rabbits in the fields around us. The numbers have been building up in the last few years. Last year, they ate all my french and runner bean plants; I had none left although I sowed twice and put plastic netting around. Al thought we might as well not bother this year, but I’m a stubborn and persistent type and it’s an odd thing, that although Al gets in locally grown runner beans from the wholesaler, as well as ones that local people bring in from their gardens for him to sell, french beans seem to come from Kenya or a similar far-flung place all year round.

By next year of course, all will be well, because the wall and greenhouses will surround three sides of the kitchen garden, and we’ll put wire along the fourth side.

I told you in the post I put a link to yesterday, that I’ve 6 beds, 38 feet x 4 feet with concrete paths in between. In the last couple of years we’ve constructed several more beds, shorter and wider, in the new space I described. So yesterday the Sage went and bought a roll of wire netting and we’ve wired off two beds together, so there’s a path in between. Another two will be done separately.

I’m growing a very limited range of vegetables this year; broad, runner and two varieties of french beans, swiss chard, spinach and courgettes and, in the greenhouse, tomatoes – 8 different varieties, bell and chilli peppers and two sorts of aubergines, purple and white, and cucumbers. Some of the tomato and aubergine plants can go outside too. The rest of the space will be used for squash plants. Loads of squashes. I just put them in the ground and leave them until autumn, and then I pick them up, we eat some and Al sells the rest. I’ve also got globe and jerusalem artichokes and asparagus. Oh, and I’ve just remembered I’ve got some cavolo nero plants which I grew from seeds I bought in France. I must plant those out. Suitably protected against pigeons of course. I’m also going to grow some white sprouting broccoli because you can hardly ever buy that and, much as I like purple sprouting, the white is lovely.

When I have more time, another year (not necessarily next year you understand) I’ll go back to growing a wider range of veg, but for now I go for easily grown, trouble- and pest-free things, where Al will take the surplus off my hands. If I aimed for more, I’d fail, and doing your best and it not being quite good enough is one thing but being a bit inadequate is another.

Still, for now, at least the rabbits are thwarted. Dear little things. It’s lovely, coming down the drive on my bike, when bunnies, bantams, pheasants and pigeons scatter before me. They don’t need to, but few are brave enough to stand aside and not scamper.

9 comments on “Z outsmarts the rabbits

  1. Prashant Sree

    Growing vegetables,having rabbits nearby !! That sounds interesting.

    Iam sure it would be very cool to have the creatures hopping nearby as long as they dont venture in to your territory. 🙂

  2. martina

    The garden here is growing by leaps and bounds (no bunnies). Enough lettuce that there will be no need to buy bag salads until September. The plastic mesh fencing has done a great job keeping the dogs and cat out of the garden. The tomatos have been in the ground for two weeks and are just starting to blossom. Ahh the merry month of May!

  3. Z

    Hello, Prashant and welcome. Yes, although we live on the edge of the village, there is a field on every side of the house so we have plenty of wildlife. I like it, as long as they don’t eat the vegetable plants.

    Glad your raised beds are doing so well, Martina, it’s really satisfying to grow your own veg, isn’t it?

    I know what you mean, Dave. I even cycle cautiously.

  4. Sarah

    Doesn’t Tilly keep the rabbits at bay?
    I kinda gave up on veggies a few years ago when the rats moved in and ate all the tops off my carrots….but I feel a renewed vigour with all you bloggers (you and dave) whetting my appetite for home grown stuff again. There is nothing more satisfying than wandering into the veg patch ‘of an evening’ glass of pinot in the hand and picking one’s supper… it’s the weeding I hate.

  5. Z

    She’s getting on a bit, she can’t catch rabbits any more. She did despatch a couple of half-grown bunnies last year which she found in the kitchen garden.

    We had rats years ago, when the old mill across the field had various small industrial and residential units – it was horrible, they climbed the sweet corn and ate all the cobs. And the year before last, Big Pinkie the cow got out of the field and she ate all the sweetcorn (and then strolled back to the field).

    I hate weeding too and have put membrane down and plant through holes in that to minimise it.

  6. luckyzmom

    And of course you aren’t contemplating rabbit stew!

    Feeling nostalgic for the garden we left behind. We are in the process of working with a landscaper to xeriscape our small lot in the Nevada desert. We have gophers making a minefield out of our lawn and the wind brings in the most noxious weed seeds that grow faster than Jack’s bean stalk.

    What are cavolo nero plants?

  7. Z

    It’s a sort of loose-leaf cabbage or kale, with dark green leaves.

    I’m tolerant of moles, but I don’t know how I’d feel about about gophers.

  8. luckyzmom

    We thought they were moles, but further investigation suggested that they are field gophers.I don’t know what the difference is except that gophers are a little cuter.


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