When it comes to keeping rabbits out of our garden and flowerbeds, we never had much of a problem. That is, until recently.

keeping rabbits out
They make look cute – but they can mow down flowers and vegetables quickly!

We planted our very first garden at the farm in 2011, and there was not a single rabbit to be found. And with 100% certainty, I can say we never encountered one until one fateful September day in 2015. We were walking along the fence line of our garden, and suddenly, a ball of fur burst from underneath the large leaves of a hosta plant.

And so began the steady invasion of the rabbits!

Everything in nature has a purpose and balancing effect. When we first gardened at the farm in 2011, there was a large population of coyote in the area. The farm was also quite open at that point, so there were few places for rabbits to hide. In addition to the coyote, we also had a much younger and active Jazzy (our beloved black lab) to patrol the area.

As we now head into the 2018 garden season, all of that has changed. The coyotes are all but non-existent thanks to more development, and an effort by local farmers to help control the population. Our farm is also now filled with hundreds of grasses and plants that create the perfect refuge for furry little critters. And last, but not least, Jazzy is now nearing 12 years of age. At this point, she would much rather chase a few dreams in her sleep than a lightning-quick rabbit.

And so it is that the rabbit population has multiplied. They have damaged a few crops here and there. However, with a few modifications and tricks, we have managed to keep their damage to a minimum.

Keeping Rabbits Out Of The Garden & Flowerbeds – Tips and Tricks

The Hot Pepper Effect

keeping rabbits out
We plant hot peppers all over the farm, including in flowerbeds. They are not only beautiful, they are great at keeping rabbits out!

We love our hot peppers, and in addition to their great flavor, they have helped tremendously in keeping rabbits from destroying both our vegetables and flowerbeds. We have always planted hot peppers on the outer rows of our garden. It is a great way to signal to invaders that this might not be the plot for them. We will usually find a bit of damage on a few of the leaves and a young pepper or two early on. And then it stops. They simply do not like the heat!

In our flowerbeds, we always mix in a fair amount of hot ornamental pepper plants as well. They are simply stunning to use as flowers for their massive color – and they are highly rabbit-proof! It is a win-win. See : Ornamental Pepper Plants

We have make a pretty potent hot pepper spray from the seeds and pulp. They help keep rabbits and other animals from eating tender young plants. It really does work, although you do need to reapply quite often to keep it effective. Especially after any rainfall. See : How To Make And Use Hot Pepper Spray

The Rabbit Fence

Without a doubt, fencing is the number one way to keep rabbits at bay. And it doesn’t take much. A 2′ to 3′ high wire mesh or chicken wire fence will do the trick.

For years, we have had a decorative board and batten fence running around the perimeter of our garden. This year, we are attaching a 30″ high wire fence to the inside to eliminate any issues at all. If you don’t have an existing fence, you can install wire fencing with temporary metal posts. It is a quick, easy, and somewhat inexpensive solution to keeping your food safe!  Product links :  28″ x 50′ high rabbit fencing  –  Small Metal Fencing Posts

Two Failed “Old-Time-Myths” For Keeping Rabbits Out

keeping rabbits out
Our board and batten fence will be getting some rabbit proofing this year

We would be remiss if we didn’t cover a few old-time tricks many have heard about. The first – placing dog or human hair in bed spaces to deter the rabbits. In our case, they actually used Jazzy’s shedding fur to make a rabbit nest!

Another famous myth is placing moth balls in the garden and flowerbeds. Unfortunately, not only are they highly ineffective on a wide scale – mothballs also contain chemicals and known insecticides that simply are not safe to place around food sources.

Here is to keeping rabbits out of your garden and flowerbeds! Happy Gardening, Jim and Mary

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8 thoughts on “Invaded! Keeping Rabbits Out Of The Garden and Flowerbeds

  • March 21, 2018 at 4:54 pm
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    Where can I buy Sangria and Chilli Chilli pepper seeds to plant in the garden to deter rabbits and deer?

    • March 23, 2018 at 9:29 am
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      Hi Lewis Check out seed savers exchange or Johnnyseeds for seeds if you can’t find them at your local nursery.

  • March 19, 2018 at 2:31 pm
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    We gave a large population of deer in our area (NE Georgia) & I have used this deer deterrent for many years with great success. In a 2 gal pump up sprayer I mix 2 cups of milk, 1/2 cup veg. oil, 2 eggs (beaten in blender), fill sprayer up to almost fill line, then add 1/2 cup of liquid strong smelling dish washing soap. Let sit in sun for several days or can use immediately. After several hot days it will smell strong but will dissipate quickly to my nose but the deer can still smell it & will stay away. Spray once a week & after a rain. I also shred Irish Spring bath soap in my food processor & sprinkle in my flower beds. I have many hostas & flower beds that I have protected over the years.

    • March 20, 2018 at 11:36 am
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      Thank you Peggy for the wonderful tips!!!

  • March 18, 2018 at 7:19 pm
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    Thanks to the coyotes, our rabbit population is small. Last year I had trouble with deer. First time in 25 years of gardening in the same location. I know others in the area have had to put up 8 foot fences. Not sure what I will do this year, Did not have any green beans last summer because the deer liked them too!

    • March 18, 2018 at 7:52 pm
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      It’s amazing how the deer migrate, mostly due to them losing their natural homes because of construction. We have plenty of deer, but also plenty of space for them to roam. However, a few years ago they mowed down our purple green beans the day before we were going to pick them! I think they listen to us 🙂

  • March 18, 2018 at 9:43 am
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    Rabbits seem to have natural population cycles. We have snow shoe hares here in Central BC Canada and the population peaks about every seven years then drops to almost nothing and starts to rebuild again. Right now our rabbit population is in rebuild mode so the problem isn’t severe but just wait a couple of years. Thanks for the hot pepper spray recipe I’ll have to try that and see if will work for the deer as well.

    • March 18, 2018 at 7:49 pm
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      Well maybe that is what is happening here. It’s our 8th garden year at our Farm…hmmmmm interesting. Thanks for the info!

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