After more than 20 hours of annual spring garden bed cleanup … and I’m not finished yet … I decided to reward myself and officially plant my spring vegetable garden. Yesterday afternoon I tucked in seeds and young plants, hoping to get a jump on my home-grown veggie eating season. Our last frost date here in northern New Jersey is today, April 29, but I was lucky and last night the temps never dipped to freezing. I am not so lucky when it comes to my furry friends and their dining habits.
A few weeks ago I unofficially planted lettuce and spinach “starts,” (young plants); they love cooler temps and a little frost doesn’t hurt them. I went to bed that night knowing that crunchy leafy home-grown greens were in my near future. The next day I went to water my little veggie starts and couldn’t find them. I know my garden soil is rich, but it isn’t magical. Those veggies babies did not sprout legs and run away. Then I saw them: Something or someone had eaten them down to their quick!
Sensing I was being watched, I maintained my composure, even though I wanted to cry and throw myself on the stunted veggie remains. Cautiously, I looked around but the only thing I saw was a kinda cute little brownish gray bunny. She dipped her head, grabbed a mouthful of my husband Mike’s precious lawn, and chewed rapidly, all the while maintaining eye contact with me.
“Did you eat my veggies?” I asked the twitchy-nose invader.
She chewed thoughtfully, then hopped away without replying.
I’d been had! But no bunny was going to get the best of me and my veggie garden. I, the optimistic gardener, rushed out and bought more lettuce starts. And two pepper plants, two tomato plants, basil and some broccoli starts for good measure. And I nursed them along in my unheated greenhouse while I thought about ways to protect my crop from a bunny invader.
Yesterday was gorgeous weather here in northern New Jersey. And I couldn’t resist it: I raked my raised veggie beds smooth while the sun beat down on my arms and neck. Ahhhh. Happily, I noticed that the leaf lettuce and spinach the bunny had eaten were making a comeback! I figured she was getting enough to eat now, what with all the newly sprouting plants and grass. And I figured it would be safe to re-plant my garden.
I lined the young potted plants up along the raised bed and decided where to plant them.
Then I planted the radish, beans and leaf lettuce seeds, mostly inside the cold frame (that box with a lid in the upper left of the above photo). I figured the bunny wouldn’t jump inside what looks like a trap (the boxy cold frame) just to eat a few fresh young plants. Right?
In addition, I planted lettuce, parsley, rosemary (which I wintered over in my unheated greenhouse) in a few large planters near our grill. I am hoping the bunny is either stupid or lazy; surely, she won’t rise up on her hind legs and eat the lettuce in the pots when she has so much luscious green grass right in front of her. Right??
And for good measure? I surrounded the raised beds with hardware cloth, which is really a fine grid chicken wire. Let’s hope the bunny think it’s too much work to hop over it.
P.S. We have two robins’ nests in our yard this year. One is tucked in among the leafy climbing hydrangea near Tall, Dark and Handsome. And the other?
Will we be able to use our front door in the very near future? I mean without getting pecked half to death by an anxious Momma-Bird?