Quick and easy fix to keep Peter Rabbit from eating your cabbages

Gentle Readers. I am a mess. My shoulders are sunburned; I’m covered with mosquito bites and scratches from the battle I’ve been waging outdoors; my muscles are sore, and I am muddy from my feet up to my knees. Also I think my gimpy knee–if possible–is gimpier.

But I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been spending most of nearly every day out in my garden-cum-swamp. And that’s just where I want to be.

I snapped this photo after I had walked through my garden. It's just that wet.

I snapped this photo after I had walked through my garden. It’s just that wet.

Yep, I’m one of those females who’d rather be outside battling mosquitoes, heat and humidity, knee-high weeds and (this year) mud, than inside doing battle with dust and clutter. God help me!

It’s an unusual year here in the Midwest, weather-wise and garden-wise. The two are connected, naturally. We’ve had abundant rainfall, which is quite unusual. It just keeps raining and raining and raining. I’ve gotten lots of the garden in, between showers and heavy rain and thunderstorm warnings, and it’s doing pretty well, but for the past week, I’ve done no planting because some of the garden is mud and some of it is actually under water! *oiy!*

(Because the memory of that drought year is still so vivid in my mind, I have promised not to complain about so much rain. But I’ve gotten close. Very close. 🙁

My hoop house is nearly all planted, and is kind of a dry, controlled oasis for me. When I get tired of slogging in the muddy garden proper, I head in to the hoop house, with its drip tape watering system which I love more than anything right now because I can turn the water on. And then turn it off. My heirloom tomatoes are happy happy happy in there!

Something else that is happy with all the rain: my volunteer borage plants.

Something else that is happy with all the rain: my volunteer borage plants.

Actually, I’ve never had my garden underwater before ever, except when we lived in Iowa, where plentiful rainfall is not an unheard-of occurrence, and my garden spot was in the low spot in the backyard. My tomatoes did not like being in a puddle all summer, and didn’t do well at all. 🙁 That was a sad time. I think that’s probably why I went ahead and had another baby–Amalia–because the garden was just a disappointment–what else was there to do?? 😉 (Just kidding, Amalia!)

Because the garden is such a perilous, mosquito-filled swamp this year, I’m taking care to protect what I have planted, more than I ever have. Here are a few challenges that I’ve faced already this year:

  • The deer are jumping over my garden fence to eat the sweet potatoes and beets. They are very particular. They bother nothing else. I see their dainty footprints only around the sweet potato and beet stems . . . . sticking up out of the mud of the garden. 🙁
  • The bunnies! The bunnies! The bunnies. They are plentiful and bold. How can these denizens of evil look so cute with their fluffy white tails and big Disneyesque eyes? Cute? Yes. Voracious eaters? Also yes. The bunnies snap off anything of a cabbage-like nature: the poor brassicas! True story: I planted cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, collards, etc. on Monday. On Tuesday morning, I found them all eaten down to the stem. I burst into angry wails, I tore my clothes, I cursed the bunnies roundly, I stomped and fumed. I drove to the store and bought more seedlings and replanted on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, they were eaten down to the stems again. No lie. This time, I learned from my mistakes. Oh, also the kohlrabi that I grew from seed was not safe. Also baby kales and mustards that I planted just for salad-clipping. Boo, bunnies! 🙁 Not cool!
  • My strawberry patch is producing wonderfully, but early-morning visits from robins (and occasionally an errant rooster who flies over the garden fence, boo Marvin, not cool) is rendering strawberries full of holes and rotting. Boo, also! 🙁
But if I take care, I get perfect whole berries!

But if I take care, I get perfect whole berries!

So here is my garden motto this year: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 5 minutes of applying a bunny/deer/bird deterrant in the garden is worth many hours of regret and loss. And saves lots of clothing-rending, at that.

I found one product that is effective against all the above threats to my garden, and even seems to be slowing down the infamous cabbage moth! Yes. Can you believe it?

Believe it, Gentle Reader.

It’s this: deer netting. Have you discovered this stuff yet, fellow gardeners? It’s wonderful. I had bought a roll last year that I hadn’t used. Because I remember all too well how the deer decimated my sweet potato plants last year (in their defense, I have heard that the leaves are very tasty) the very day that I planted sweet potatoes, I rolled this over them and secured it with bricks on the corners and edges.

Critters decimating your garden? Order this stuff TODAY! (affiliate link)

My sweet potato plants look just a little rough, but the deer have not gotten to them.

My sweet potato plants look just a little rough from all the storms, but the deer have not gotten to them. HA!

It took me 5 minutes to roll out this netting, and I could have done it in 3 if I would have had a helper that day. Easy as pie– my strawberries, my cole crops and my sweet potatoes and beets are safe. I can just imagine the deer standing there, sniffing at the lovely snackage underneath the netting, but being unable to get at it.

That thought makes me smile. 🙂

See? Have you ever seen such a beautiful cabbage?

See? Have you ever seen such a beautiful cabbage?

Yep, all the fashionable cabbages this season are wearing veils!

🙂 Yikes. The sun is up and the mud and mosquitoes are waiting. I’d better get out there! Have a good one!


P.S. (plug stuff) If you have a gardening friend who would appreciate this post, would you please share it with them? I’d love you to the moon and back! Not that I don’t already . . .


6 thoughts on “Quick and easy fix to keep Peter Rabbit from eating your cabbages

  1. Corner Garden Sue

    I am in Lincoln, and also having fits with bunnies. I had to laugh at what you wrote about them, except for the parts where they were eating your plants. I have told a couple neighbors that if they hear me yelling outside, its at the rabbits. The other day, I saw one, after having discovered one of my plants eaten down. I said, “I hate you!” I decided to add, “You eat my plants” so people would know I was talking to a critter. I cage some of my plants, and have chicken wire around the vegetable garden.

    I have not been handling the heat as well as I used to. I have to keep coming in for breaks. I hope we get some good weather for gardening soon, and your garden doesn’t flood anymore.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Sue, it’s so nice to meet a local reader! What is it about the bunnies this year? I promise you, every time I go outside I see half a dozen of them. And they all look quite happy, and fat!

  2. Robin Follette

    We have a hare that hasn’t discovered the garden – yet. Ava, the dog, has been chasing him every chance she gets. I hope he realizes soon that she’s not going to stop. And I hope I won’t be browsing through my recipes…

  3. Erika

    Hi there! I’m a newbie at gardening and planted my very first veggie garden back in May. I planted tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, jalapenos, cucumber, zucchini, and eggplant. Up until today everything has been growing beautifully until I noticed my brand new baby broccoli heads chewed down to the stem… I think it has to do with those pesky bunnies. We have a ton of them hopping around our neighborhood. So far the broccoli is the only plant that attracted their palette….
    The deer net you mention above…do you simply lay it on top of all your plants? I know you mentioned it protects the deer from getting at them but does it protect it from bunnies as well? Any suggestions you have that will help protect my remaining broccoli and other plants would be greatly appreciated!

    Erika (beginning gardener)

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