Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Report from the War Zone

Many have inquired about how my backyard bunny wars are going, so herewith an an update:

I purchased a live trap and began a Rabbit Relocation Program. Two rabbits were successfully relocated, and they will probably be the only two that are. This is because the baby bunnies are too small to activate the trap’s trigger and the larger ones have learned how to avoid it. In other words, my Rabbit Relocation Program has evolved into a Rabbit Feeding Program. They seem to enjoy the apples I purchase for them, and I am appropriately proud of my success in training rabbits to get in and out of a rabbit trap without being captured.

The chipmunk that ravaged Susan's shade garden is no longer with us. I do not want to be terribly specific about the details. Let us simply say that I provided him with a one-way ticket to a better place.

The beans are now coming in. They are in the one garden that is fenced so securely that the rabbits – even the babies – cannot enter. I am growing four varieties of beans, of which our favorite are the French fillet beans (the very skinny ones). As the beans mature, something is nibbling off the very end of each one. I am guessing it is mice standing on tippy-toe, no doubt looking adorable like the mice in children’s books. You cannot fence out mice, especially French mice.

Something ate an entire heirloom tomato plant down to the ground. There have been reports of a groundhog in the neighborhood. I do not think this is a coincidence.

Speaking of tomatoes, I have lost two additional plants to a disease that caused them to wilt overnight. The appeared to be perfectly healthy except for the bottom of the stem, which essentially shriveled away. I did a fair amount of research on the web, and this condition points to either a fungal or bacterial disease. I took a plant to the county extension office where I talked to a nice guy who knew less about wilting diseases than I did. All signs point to a soil-borne bacterial disease that can only be treated by removing the soil to a depth of 18 inches then leaving that garden unplanted for at least four years. I have five tomato plants left, but I don’t know for how long. I am guessing I will be buying a lot of tomatoes this year, and growing them in pots next summer. This should allow me to reach my goal of enjoying home-grown tomatoes that cost me more than four dollars apiece.

1 comment:

rick in cos said...

Rabbits are evil, no doubt. I caught about a dozen in my live trap the last summer i spent in ATW. One time, I had my youngest with me, relocated one to Thrivent's HQ, and just a few yards of running by the rabbit led to a red-tailed hawk diving down and shredding it, much to my delight (I'm the avid birder, remember?) and much to the horror of my daugher.
HERE< we have no rabbits! We have resident foxes that manage that quite nicely, thank you. Have yet to see a rabbit. But, we have bigger issues. The mule deer absolutely eat everything. They climb up on folk's front porches, get up on their hinders and will nibble off high hanging baskets of flowers. The eat all "deer resistant" sources. And, of course, the dog goes nuts when they're in the yard. Finally, I've scaled way back on hummingbird feeders because the bear rips them to shreds unless you precariously perch them far out of reach.
My recommendation: get some fox or wolf scent spray, apply it frequently, and buy your veggies at Copps.....