I believe I have figured out a method of keeping rabbits from eating the plants in my garden, and as a side benefit, I think it will keep cats from using MY garden as a litter box.
Let me start at the beginning and you decide if I have finally found “the answer”, the one every gardener has been seeking, a cheap way to keep rabbits from eating your vegetables before you do.
A few weekends ago, I spent part of Saturday preparing my raised vegetable beds for planting. I removed all the weeds, lightly hoed up each bed and then raked them smooth. In the process, I found evidence that a cat, the neighbor’s cat, had been using one of my 4’ x 4’ beds as his own gigantic litter box. I know which cat, because he is in my yard all the time. I guess his thinking was, “why go home to use a litter box when Carol’s got this nice, loose, soil for me to dig in?”
So I cleaned up all the cat mess, and then went inside to rest and eat. I never made it back out to the garden that day to actually plant anything because once inside I was overtaken with GPS (Gardener’s Procrastination Syndrome).
The next day, having gotten over my GPS bright and early, I went out to the garden with my seeds and plants and every tool I would need to sow and plant everything in the vegetable garden. I had a spring in my step as I am always happy when it comes time to plant the vegetable garden.
But I was stopped in my tracks when I saw evidence that the cat had been back and had done it again!
So, I cleaned up that mess and proceeded to plant pepper plants in that bed. Surely the cat wouldn’t dig where there were plants?
The next day, Memorial Day, I went to check on my newly planted garden and saw that the cat had actually covered up one of the pepper plants digging around in that bed. Cats apparently will dig where there are plants if that’s where they want to “go”.
At this point I was seeing red and thinking about BB guns and rocks and other things I could use to make that cat understand once and for all that my garden is not his litter box.
Let me pause here to tell all you cat lovers that I DID NOT harm the cat in any way and furthermore, the cat has been declawed and should not even be outside, as he can’t defend himself in a fight.
As I posted before, I put out a tweet on Twitter about how mad I was at that cat and got a tweet back to try laying rose branches or other multi-stemmed branches around the plants. (See, Twitter does have value and a purpose.)
So I tried that and it seems to have worked and as an added bonus, it seems to be protecting the plants from being eating by rabbits.
At this point, I should perhaps consider the problem solved, be happy, and look forward to fresh green beans.
But I think I may have an even better method to try.
One of my co-workers said she told a friend about me trying to keep cats out of the garden, and she suggested that I try forking the garden.
I was confused, as forking the garden to me means “turning the ground over wth a fork to loosen the soil”. How would that keep away cats?
But it turns out that forking is actually a prank where someone comes to your house and puts hundreds of plastic forks in your yard, tine end up. She thought perhaps putting plastic forks, tine end up, in the raised beds would also keep the cat out.
It sounded feasible to me, so I did some quick online searches and found that this is indeed something gardeners have done with some success to keep cats from digging in their gardens and to keep rabbits from eating their plants.
So even though most of my garden seems to be protected with all the branches everywhere, I’ve decided to try ‘forking’ my garden, as I don’t know that I will always have a good supply of the right kinds of branches, to use, but I can get plastic forks every year.
So I am trying it, but technically, I guess you could say I am ‘spooning’ the garden. For whatever reason, I happened to have a nearly full box of 600 plastic spoons, so that’s what I’m using.
I’ve placed spoons all around my emerging green bean plants, but left part of one side open as the ‘control’, as I want this to be a valid experiment.
If the rabbits eat just the beans where one side is ‘unspooned’, then I think I can say that ‘spooning’ or ‘forking’ your garden is a valid method of protecting your garden from cats and rabbits.
If nothing gets eaten, I’m not sure the test is valid, as it could mean there are no rabbits around.
Yeah, right, there are no rabbits in my garden. If you believe that, then let me tell you about the garden fairies. If nothing gets eaten, I’ll consider my method successful.