Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Then I sat a flat of 50 pepper plants in a raised bed. I thought they'd be safe. The bed is a foot high. But the next day, half of the plants were gone. A couple people on Facebook suggested moles or rats. We had rats eat plants when we started them in the pump room a few years ago. So, we never did that again.
The peas that we planted at the end of March were about three inches tall when they were murdered. Luckily we hadn't weeded lately, so the leaves under weeds survived, but I don't know if we'll have peas at this point. Will the stress of losing most of their leaves (but not all) be enough to kill the pea plants?
We planted several tomato plants and put cages around them made with rabbit wire. One of the cages did not sit perfectly flat on the ground (and we couldn't make it sit flat) -- and the next day the cage was moved, and the tomato plant was gone.
We ultimately decided that rabbits were the culprits because we never saw any deer tracks. A deer walking on freshly tilled earth during or after a rain would leave tracks, so we ruled out deer, and we started planning a rabbit-proof fence.
Mike is digging down next to the existing fence, and he and Jonathan are burying chicken wire, so that rabbits can't go under the fence. We don't think the rabbits had to dig to get into the garden, because there were some dips in the dirt under the fence where a rabbit could have easily squeezed in or out. However, we didn't want to simply eliminate those weaknesses, only to have the rabbits start digging, since they already know what a wonderful buffet we have inside the fence. Mike and Jonathan started working on this last week, and then it started raining on Friday.
Sunday I was planning to put out more pepper and tomato transplants while Mike continued to work on the fence. Then I saw that every last leek was gone! And if you've ever grown leeks, you know how long they take to grow! I started them inside in January, and they currently look like cocktail straws. Yeah, they're small. The rows of beets were also completely barren, and many of them had already sprouted. That's when I decided to head back inside. I vowed not to plant another seed or transplant until the reinforced rabbit fence is in place.
Then last night I went to get some turnip greens for dinner. The only things the rabbits don't eat are turnip greens, radishes, and green onions -- or so I thought. When I went to get the turnips last night, I discovered that the rabbits had developed a taste for radish greens. With their leaves all gone, the radishes would have rotted in the ground, so I pulled up every one that I could find.
The rabbits have eaten so many plants -- they would have produced at least a hundred pounds of vegetables -- that I am not a happy gardener. Hopefully Mike will finish the fence today or tomorrow, and we'll be able to finish planting.