Posted by: Mary Small and Curtis Utley, CSU/Jefferson County Extension
One of the sure signs that life has returned to our demonstration and research garden here on the Jefferson County fairgrounds is that the resident cottontail rabbit, Jacques, has been busy.
|Rabbit clipped peppers|
He’s found a good life here with refuge underneath a couple of large shrubs abutting our building and plenty of gourmet food to eat once it gets planted by his humans. No more of that yucky grass and those weird-tasting perennials from the High and Dry garden. It’s time for the tender lettuce, spinach and other yummy greens.
We thought we foiled Jacques last year by placing the greens in a 3 foot high raised bed, rather than the in-ground bed where they were the previous year. Voila-it worked! (Against Jack, anyway, not against pests of the human and insect varieties.)
This year Jacques has been getting even by clipping off many residents of our just-planted pepper research bed (at a nice 45 degree angle, as they so artistically do!) And to add insult to injury, he’s just clipping some of them off and dropping the tops nearby as if to taunt us. He’s not eating everything, just getting his revenge.
|Rabbit proof fence|
Two foot wide one-inch poultry netting
stapled to two foot survey stakes
It’s a bit hard to get a harvest and compare performance of pepper varieties when some of them are damaged right at the beginning of their garden life. Thanks a lot, buddy!
So, what to do? Two foot tall stakes were hammered into each corner of the bed and along the sides. Next, two foot wide chicken wire was tightly wrapped around the stakes. As you see in the photos the fencing is tight to the ground and encloses the perimeter. We hope it will be tough for Jacques to dig under so he will give up and find something else to do.
The fence will make taking data later in the summer a bit more challenging, but at least we should have something to measure! We’ll see just how clever this guy is as the season progresses and what he decides to do in the meantime.