I have a very small garden, more of a pocket patch. Shrubs used to grow there but I never liked burning bush and it’s an invasive import, anyway, so I had the landscapers pull them out. (One advantage of living in a 50+ condo community is having landscapers to do the heavy work.)
My Little Garden
That patch of land gets full sun all summer long so it provided an ideal place to plant a few veggies. Usually, I put in three or four tomatoes, a flat of assorted peppers and some marigolds to keep the bugs away. This year, I reduced the tomatoes, hung two baskets of trailing tomatoes, and experimented with a bush cucumber and one zucchini.
Sounds good, right? My little garden will never provide enough for a roadside stand but, along with my herbs in pots on the porch, it keeps us in fresh food for months.
Enter the bunnies.
The problem with living in a 50+ condo community is that we are all soft-hearted grandparents who have read Goodnight Moon and Peter Rabbit so often we can quote them by memory. We like bunnies. Our grandchildren like bunnies. They’re cute and soft and we leave them alone. As a result, they are totally unafraid of us.
When we first moved here, we saw a few. Over the years, however, they have done what bunnies do and reproduced predictably. We now have a lot of bunnies that run around with the army of frenzied chipmunks and the slower, more aloof squirrels. Here’s the thing: rabbits love ripe tomatoes, zucchini blossoms, and the flowers of some peppers. Also, marigold flowers, phlox and other plants in my perennial border.
My tomatoes are ripening and the ones closest to the ground have all been either nibbled or chomped in half. I go out to harvest one and this is what I see. No zucchini squashes have appeared because the poor struggling plant never gets that far before the blossoms disappear. Only one pepper, the Gypsy, has produced any fruit. This is why I hang trailing tomatoes where the critters can’s get at them. The marigolds have no flowers.
Beyond the Bunnies
Are the rabbits all to blame for it all? Well, probably not.
A woodchuck roams the neighborhood like he owns it — doesn’t even look both ways when he crosses the street. Deer come over the stone wall from the golf course. A quick brown fox trots back and forth above the perennial border.
And I can’t tell who is eating what. Except that I blame the deer for the loss of two hostas, and the woodchuck for the severely stunted size of a centaurea I planted for flowers that have never appeared.
All-Purpose Animal Repellent
Clearly, I need an all-purpose animal repeller. But what?
Fences don’t work. There isn’t enough room for anything truly effective and the rabbits can just squeak through or jump over one of those wire-wicket borders. The deer repellent sprays do work but you have to keep spraying every few weeks.
This year I’m going high-tech and rolling out the heavy artillery. I bought a Zovenchi solar-powered, ultrasonic, animal-repelling device. It’s supposed to keep away dogs, cats, chipmunks, deer, foxes, rabbits, and even pigeons. It should work on woodchucks, too.
Right now, the Zovenchi is in my garden charging up its solar batteries.In the photo above, it’s the small black device under the hanging pots. When it’s charged and I turn it on, the motion-activated mechanism will send out an ultrasonic frequency every time a critter comes to snack on my veggies. These animals can hear it but don’ t like it. We can’t hear it at all.
Ripen in Peace
At least, that’s the claim. If it works, the vegetables will actually have a chance to grow and ripen. I will be able to harvest whole tomatoes free of nibbles and bites. I can’t wait.
Will it work? I don’t know but I’m looking forward to finding out. I’ll keep you posted.
Reminds me of an old book called “Outsmarting Squirrels”*
I hope you have more luck with your high-tech solution.
I’d like to see a video of a Rube Goldberg Anti-Squirrel Defense Robot panning and zapping a bunny with its high-powered sonic ray. But I guess not yet.
If that doesn’t work, then maybe a chained up pet hawk?
Full book title:
*”Outwitting Squirrels, 101 cunning stratagems to reduce dramatically the egregious misappropriation of seed from your bird feeder by squirrels” (Chicago Review Press, $11.95).
My cousin in semi-rural Pennsylvania swears by his solar-powered electric fence. Looking forward to hearing your experience. We gave up on a veggie garden after having the entire thing decimated TWICE in one year by woodchucks.