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Temporary bunny proofing

Now that we're past the last frost date, gardens are full of tender leaves like lettuce, arugula, and mesclun greens. With leafy greens come the bunnies. They're so cute, but so hungry! In Massachusetts, it's not legal to relocate wildlife, so we have resorted to using small enclosures for a few reasons. First, we don't really want to harm the bunnies by using traps. Second, our garden rules discourage fences, which should be temporary and unobtrusive. One thing that makes Gardens for Charlestown unique is that it is open to the public. The absence of fences helps visually emphasize our openness to the greater Charlestown community.

Chances are that not all of your plants need bunny proofing. Those that do only need it for a short time, since lettuce starts to bolt as soon as Summer gets into full swing. Here are some of the ways that our members have successfully kept bunnies from nibbling their greens over the years. All of the items you see are available at garden centers (like Mahoney's or Ricky's) or Home Depot.

The wire mesh below is available at Home Depot:

This 1/4" wire mesh below is also available at Home Depot. It comes in a roll, which was cut lengthwise with tin snips. It helps to have 2 people and wear some gardening gloves while cutting the roll. The pieces of mesh are only a foot high, and are tied together using twist ties. The green posts and horizontal brackets will support peas as they grow. Those are available at HD or garden centers.

This enclosure allows light in and keeps bunnies out. It also keeps humidity in, which saves on water, and means your lettuce won't wilt or dry out. Available at gardening catalogues like Kinsman or Gardener's

Another alternative is black plastic mesh, which you can see best if you look at the lettuce plant in the lower left corner. By bunching up the mesh and staking it down around the edges, you can keep the bunnies off your plants. It's available at HD as well.

Once June arrives, it soon becomes too hot to grow the plants that bunnies like. Any large enclosures should be taken down before the fundraising events that are meant to showcase our garden to the public. Thanks for your cooperation, and happy gardening!

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