May 28, 2008

Fox Urine or Irish Spring?

So far this spring I have lost 2 lettuce seedlings and 2 kale seedlings. I believe the culprits are rabbits for the following reasons:

1) I have seen bunnies in and around the garden (they're damn cute by the way, for evil things)
2) The entire top of the plant gets lopped off with a tiny bit of the stem sticking out of the ground.
3) Some of my garden neighbors have had similar problems and noticed teeth marks.

My first fear was that it was cutworms since I have had problems with these before, but when it was the cutworms they usually left the top of the plant lying on the ground and seemed to just eat straight through the middle.

Anyway, I was looking for something to guard against the critters and have found some interesting ideas that I'd like to share. Special thanks to my pal Hockey Lover who used to do landscaping and helped.

Things to prevent bunnies from ruining your garden:

1) Predator Urine -- Fox seems to be the one that is most recommended for bunnies. I found a few websites that sell it. Supposedly the rabbits won't go near things that smell like something that will eat them. Makes sense to me. You can buy urine of Mountain Lions, Coyote, Wolf and Bobcat too! You can even buy little plastic containers with stakes to stick them in the ground. You stick a cottonball in the container and soak it with the fox pee for a slow and steady release of bunny-killer smell.

2) Soap with Sodium Tallowate - Attention Vegetarians! Soaps like Irish Spring, Zest, Safeguard etc. contain animal fat. I assume this works for the same reasons that predator pee works. The basic idea is that you chip it off and leave the little pieces around the plant. I did see one review that said that the smell was annoying (some people don't like Irish Spring fresh scent I gather) and that the little soap pieces melt and look like mold.

3) Blood Meal - Lo and behold I just added some Pro-Gro to all of my seedlings on Monday and one of the ingredients is blood meal. We did have a heavy rain though so I might try some soap next. Again, I think anything that smells like danger to the scared little bunny will keep it away.

4) Motion Sensor Toad that "croaks" - This is just ridiculous and would probably annoy the hell out of me AND keep kids loitering in my garden plot even more than they do now with my sink. You see its a little statue of a toad that croaks when it detects movement. I am sure that the bunnies would run away from this thing, but seriously, no thanks!


Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

Tough call. Irish Spring has always smelled like fox urine to me.

Anonymous said...

Just heard today on the news that baby rabbits do not have a sense of smell or taste. They eat anything. Is this true? If that is the case, nothing short of a tall fence or netting will help.

Joan Anne said...

Yeah I agree with anonymous. I've read an article on how to keep rabbits out of garden, this is how:

Build a two foot high fence around your vegetable garden to keep the rabbits out. Poultry wire works best. Bury your fence about eight to ten inches below the ground to keep rabbits from borrowing beneath it. Make sure you keep any gates closed since rabbits will find this a great way into your vegetable garden.


Dilute hot pepper sauce into water and sprinkle onto your plants. You will have to reapply after heavy watering or rain.

Hope this will help you.

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Anonymous said...

Irish spring does not work, or at least not for the varmint that I have. I haven't planted anything yet this season so all I am protecting is my compost pile. I cup a bar in four pieces and laid it around the pile. Two days later I checked on it and three pieces were gone and one had teeth marks in it. Crazy!!!

Anonymous said...

I use Irish spring in my pots but I use a grater to shred the soap sprinkled around the plants and lightly mulch on top of the soap . The critters have left my pots alone. I also use a hot pepper and garlic spray on plants in my garden they don't like the smell or the taste. Happy Gardening

Anonymous said...

After having had a few "raids" on the Irish Spring I set up a trail camera and discovered the Irish Spring thief to the a fox. Raided the garden around midnight taking/eating? all of the Irish Spring I had set out. Weird!