how to rabbit proof raised beds

ikea_gwJanuary 20, 2010

I am starting some lettuce and kale seeds now and want to transplant them into my community garden plot in a few months. Our community garden has a bunny problem. They ate all of my bush beans last year. So what can I do to make my raised beds rabbit proof? The beds are about 10 inches off the ground but that hasn't stopped them from hopping in.

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If you aren't growing any really tall things, you can make sort of box using chicken wire and 1x1 boards. Cut the pieces like the pieces of your raised bed and nail them together. Staple the bottom of the chicken wire to the boards and cut a foot or two tall piece of 1x1 and nail one on each corner to hold the wire up. Tie a top layer of wire as wide and long as the box to the 4 posts and the other wire and it's a nice little removeable barrier that most rodents won't be able to get through. Hopefully my explanation made sense. I think "cage" might be a more appropriate word, though.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 10:59PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

That's basically what we did to varmint-proof our strawberry patch (squirrels and chipmunks). Only ours wasn't quite as complicated. We basically built another open "box" the exact same size as the raised bed, covering it with a mesh that pollinators could get through but not little hungry warm mammals. We had to put a couple of "slats" under the mesh to keep it from sagging.

Worked a treat!

If your critters are more determined than ours, you could make it more stable -- use your imagination.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 8:11AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

We live on the edge of a canyon - wild life preserve - with lots of "critters" that magically "found" my nice vegetable garden many years ago.

I now garden in 9 cedar board boxes - about 3 ft. wide x 8 ft long. They are 12 inches high. The bottom of the box has screened hardware cloth nailed to it - to prevent invasion from below.

I fashioned cages made from PVC water pipe (Home Depot) to fit inside the box, each is about 4 ft. high. These are screened with chicken wire and a piece of wire is also laid on the top - to keep out birds. It works - but the drawback is with the chicken wire - it is difficult to cut it to fit so as not to give cuts or scratches.

On the other hand, the PVC cage could also be covered with Remay cloth - which probably would work well also - without the chicken wire.

If I had it to do over, I would have been more careful using the chickenwire, and also would have made all of my boxes the same size - because a top screen is not needed in all boxes at all times.

Just my 2 c's.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 9:03AM
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featherhoof(zone 9)

Fencing will not keep them out, but a full stomach will keep them in.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 9:27AM
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anney(Georgia 8)


    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 9:56AM
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HAHAHA. I wonder why it got stuck so far above the ground too.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 10:41AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

I sometimes find small lizards stuck in the chickenwire cages. They get their heads through, and the front legs, but then get the back legs caught - like your unfortunate rabbit.

Rabbit stew and lots of veggies - I'd say.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 11:04AM
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Steven Laurin & Company

A few years ago, we had a rabbit caught in the galvanized wire I had buried under our wooden fence. Being the first to discover it, my wife said: "That poor little thing . . . help it get free".

After slipping on a pair of thick work gloves, I unwrapped the wire and released him into the adjacent woods. In hindsight, I don't think I would have been able to kill it anyway.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 12:16PM
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Just think of them as hairy weeds and eradicate them. AT my house garden, I've sent 128 of them to hippity hop heaven in the last five years. That, to me, is A LOT of rabbits, and I'm still plagued with them.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 1:47PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Man! When I saw this thread, I thought, "Oh, great! Somebody knows the answer!"
I don't know whether to laugh or cry! (Maybe both.)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 6:13PM
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Rabbit proofing easier than rat/squirrel/c.monk proofing.
1- Get this 1"x1"mesh plastic screen (get green color) from HD. Screen any area you want.
It comes 40" wide, 25ft roll, for about $12. This can both dear proof and rabbit proof.and it will not rust...
2- Go to a fabric store and get some French Tulle.
put few sticks here and there and throw the fabric on them.
Rabbits will find that nylon not very tasty to chew on in order to get into your lettuce(LOL). plus, it is loose so they cannot manage to make a hole to get in and get out. They will go to your neighbor's garden. hehe

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 2:28AM
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erlyberd(Z5 CT)

The plastic deer fence keeps deer, rabbits and woodchucks out for me. They run around the back edge all year long. Last summer I saw a baby bunny leaning on the fence. I thought maybe it was caught in the mesh. I picked it up and it was fine. It was the size of my fist.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:24AM
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grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

I use an electric fence charger. It does a great job keeping rabbits, oppossums, raccoons, and our cat out of the garden. Wires are at 6 and 12 inches. Poles are at 10 to 12 ft spacing. Setup is temporary and can be removed and reset. My charger is a Zareba brand which was purchased at Home Depot about 8 years ago.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 10:19AM
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We had a neighborhood bunny who was just smitten with our lettuce early last season. Since we're in the suburbs, our veggie garden is a bit of a "feature" in the small yard, so we decided to try something other than the fence route. I ended up planing marigolds around the border of my garden. Bunnies HATE marigolds (and so did that skunk who thought he was going to have a free buffet too... funny he walks around smelling like a marigold, but doesnt much appreciate other things that do!). It absolutely did the trick - and the neighbors thought I was doing it for them, to keep my garden looking colorful and pretty. Whatever keeps them happy, and the bunnies out!

Give the marigolds a go. Seeds are dirt cheap and they're so easy to grow. Though, with 128 bunnies down so far, the marigolds might not be a bad enough deterrent! It was enough to send our critters to the neighbors, though.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 10:31AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

I really thought I had the "cage" system working fine in my back yard. A few years ago, I built a strong chain link fencing chicken yard for my laying hens.

Things worked find up until about 6 months ago, then noticed the egg shells were being cracked, and sometimes the egg broken out of the shell. The blame was placed on the overly aggressive hen - or soft shells, etc.

Well, yesterday, I think the culprit found its match. I found a small rat - that the "lead" hen was pecking at. It was near the end of its life span - and I finished it off.

I presumed it got in sometime through a small space around the door - which I couldn't quite secure, but felt it too small to be a problem. It was apparently young then, and grew from the chicken feed inside the cage, until it couldn't manage to escape.

Sooo - maybe now we will get our share of nice fresh eggs again.

Natures little critters! Always seem to be one step ahead.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 11:02AM
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Actually, I lost count after 128. I didn't tally last year's, which was probably a dozen more. The first year, they ate everything we planted: trees, shrubs, bulbs, and all vegetables--even the corn and onions were sampled. When they commenced on the potted plants, I bought a bb gun and declared war. They even eat the nylon string I use for row markers if I leave it out. I have abandoned beans and peas completely and have to be very carful to keep the cole plants covered until they're quite large. I showed them mercy on the farm this past year and already regret it.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 1:57PM
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brookw, buy an electric fence. no need to kill anything, save money, and can grow anything you want.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 5:06PM
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eat them it tast just like chicken besides around rabbit meat is 3.99 a pound

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 10:39PM
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Somebody said that marigolds deter rabbits. Maybe !
Two years ago I planted a few but someTHING even ate some of them along with my seedlings. Later On I had RAT problem. MAYBE rats like marigold. HAHA.

I have fenced my whole veggies garden with plastic screen, with .5" by 1" mesh, 40" high. I pay $8.95 for a 25ft roll. I just bought a roll yesterday @HD, that I am going to screen my hoop area with. Great stuff; inexpensive, easy to install, green color blends in well, won't rust, deters rabbits, deers (not rats, c. monks squirrels, alas!)
for about $40. you can screen a 25' by 25' =600 sqr.ft area, that is 6.5 cents per sqr-ft.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 1:16AM
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Forget marigolds. I planted them and something ATE the marigolds!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 2:06PM
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fran_always(z6 PA)

I'm surprised no one mentioned fox urine. I swear by it. I live in the country with rabbits everywhere. I just sprinkle it on the outside of my beds. Its the only protection I use and it works.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:55PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I'm surprised no one mentioned fox urine.

I am a skeptic.
Where and how the heck they get fox urine ?
Why not gardener's own urine ?

I am going to trap them. That is the least costly and sure way to get rid of them. When the weather warms up a bit, that will be my first garden project. Since I trap them live, there is good chance for some rabbit soup. hahaha

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 7:47PM
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