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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Peace and Harmony at May Dreams Gardens

There is peace and harmony at May Dreams Gardens this evening.

For some reason, the rabbits are not eating my lettuce, spinach or pea vines, even though I’ve left them uncovered for several weeks, with no deterrents like cayenne pepper sprinkled all around.

What is the reason?

Is it the row of onions planted at the entrance to the garden?

I’ve heard rabbits will stay away from onions but I really don’t think it’s that because I’ve planted onions every spring.

Is it the rules I wrote for the rabbits? Did they get the message? I don’t really think that is it, either, because rabbits aren’t all that smart, are they?

Maybe my neighbors are trapping them? I did see a rabbit the other day but that’s the first one I’ve seen for several weeks. If my neighbors are trapping some of the rabbits, that’s wonderful and I’d like to thank them.

Whatever the reason, I’m enjoying a certain harmonious feeling, seeing the vegetable garden grow without watching it disappear from rabbits eating it.

The peas I planted on March 16th, left alone by the rabbits, are finally starting to bloom.
I haven’t planted anything else in the garden since I planted the early spring vegetables on March 16th so for a few days earlier this week, I was concerned that I was behind.

But then I checked my garden journal and reminded myself that everything is on schedule. Or at least no further behind than previous years.

Last year, I planted up most of the vegetable garden on May 21st (one year ago today).

In 2007, I also planted on May 21st and finished up on May 23rd.

In 2006, I again planted everything on May 21st.

Guess what day I planted on in 2005? Yes, May 21st.

But guess what day I planted in 2004? No, not May 21st. I planted on May 17th and 18th. And in 2003, I planted on May 16th and 17th.

I don’t really want to talk about 2002, but I should because it serves as a warning to all gardeners. That year, I planted the garden up on May 15th. Oh, I was so ahead of the game that year! Then we had a cold spell with frost warnings starting on May 17th, and on the morning of May 19th, we had a record low of 32 F and it zapped all the peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. I did not replant until May 27th.

In 2001, I was really throwing all caution to the wind, and planted the vegetable garden on May 9th. That year, I lost everything to frost on May 13th.

There’s a warning and a lesson in this for all gardeners.

The warning is don’t be in a big rush to plant your garden too close to your average frost free date. It’s an average date. You need to watch the weather and make sure it has “settled” a bit, with consistent warm temperatures before you plant.

This year, we've had cool temperatures all week, and though we haven't had any frosts or even frost warnings, I’m fine with waiting to finish planting the vegetable garden.

The lesson is to keep a garden journal. By looking at my garden journal and reviewing what I’ve done in the past, I can assure myself that I am not planting all that late this year. I can be at peace with my decision to wait to plant the rest of the vegetable garden this coming weekend.

And now, excuse me, but I’m heading out to look at the few vegetables I do have growing, and to marvel at how the rabbits have left them alone.

Twenty minutes later...

I have returned from looking at my vegetables and strawberries. Apparently, a peaceful, harmonious garden like May Dreams Gardens is a wonderful place for Mrs. Rabbit to give birth to all her baby bunnies.


Yes, in my strawberry patch. Baby bunnies… very young... soon they will be hungry… the peace and harmony in my garden may not last long...

18 comments:

Daphne said...

We haven't had any rabbits in my garden this year either. Last year they were everywhere.

As to planting dates. This year I've been much later than past years, but then I always protect my tenders veggies with row covers until it gets hot.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This spring certainly has seemed spectacular despite or maybe because of all the rain Carol. I am sure those rascally rabbits are just awaiting you to let your guard down then whammo...those babies will be hungry and your harmony will be upset. I hope not though. May you have peace in your garden for the rest of spring at least.

Gail said...

Bunnies are in my sunny perennial bed. How dare they be so cute and destructive. I am so sorry Carol, what will you do to restore peace to the kingdom?

gail

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Seems to me like you keep pretty good records. The important thing is the data but how we analyze it and then act upon it. I like how you sum it all up with little rules to follow.

I'm not sure what to make of my data except that sometimes in Austin May is like March and sometimes it's like August--so maybe I should throw all the books out.

Diana said...

oh my, Ms. Carol. I am so sorry for your gain. Baby bunnies IN the strawberries. You must have jinxed it by feeling relieved and they felt it! Ours have gone out of the yard and I see one or the other eating the grasses and wildflowers on the septic field in back of the woods and bird seed or seedlings. I'm going to close up the hold under the fence through which they've run their highway. Keep us posted...

ChrisND said...

A good warning and lesson. I am starting to keep records...maybe. At least I am putting some stuff on a blog :-). Now I don't feel so behind either considering the weather forecasts and when the last frost dates really are.

I thought I had my rabbits out this year, but what did I see at high noon? Yep, right in the middle of the yard and then under the shed as I unleashed the dog. Well I plugged their escape hole, so...we'll see.

Hope your rabbits decided there were other food sources early on and only nested in your patch - um yeah.

Frances, said...

HA, Carol, that was the funniest ending yet, didn't see it coming at all! I guess it really isn't funny to have baby bunnies in the strawberries, of all places, but your set up was great. Now what are you going to do?

Rose said...

Oh my, what are you going to do about the baby bunnies? I'm not sure I want to know...
I haven't seen any rabbits yet, but my sweet basil has mysteriously gone from three planst to one. They apparently don't like kohlrabi, but then neither do I.

Annie in Austin said...

So the conclusion, Carol, is that while you're gardening with wisdom and busy inside looking through the journals for the frost date, the long-eared ones are out in the strawberry patch, doin' what comes nat-ur'-ll-y?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

You knew it wasn't going to last. The minute you mention no rabbit damage, the gods of the garden heard your hubris & sent baby bunnies! I hope you manage to deter them b4 they start chomping on all your hard work. (I think it was so quiet because the big bunnies were busy making the little bunnies.)

Nancy said...

Ack!! In the strawberries of all things. That momma bunny's got some nerve...but is smart in placing the babies right where they'd get some very yummy first dinners.

I think....all in all...I'd discourage such presumption. I wonder if the momma would find them if you relocated them?

Weeping Sore said...

Never blog about how the bad guys haven't found your new veggies! They read blogs! I just hope they save some of the strawberries for you.

zvrk said...

In my garden cats do the bussines of keeping the rabbits away. Long let it live!
Love your blog! I have discovered gardening blogs and can't find enough tine to read them all.
Writing from the UK.

Carol said...

Daphne, Usually, I use the row covers to protect the plants from the rabbits!

Lisa at Greenbow, Thank you, I hope the bunnies move away and leave me in peace!

Gail, Honestly, I don't know what I'm going to do. Any suggestions?

MSS@ZanthanGardens, After awhile, I suspect you follow your own instincts in the garden, like I do much of the time.

Diana, I must have jinxed it? Maybe, I suspect I should have been trapping them!

ChrisND, Yes, hopes springs eternal. Maybe the rabbits go someplace to eat?

Frances, That's really how it happened. I wrote the post, then went out to take some pictures to go with it and BAM! I found the rabbit's warren. I have no idea what I'm going to do next.

Rose, Figures the rabbits wouldn't eat the plant you don't like.

Annie in Austin, After your comment, I will never be able to look at my strawberry patch in the same way again!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, I think you were right on all counts!

Nancy, I don't have the heart to relocate them away from the mother rabbit. They are not very old, maybe a day or two?

Weeping Sore, Now you tell me!

Zvrk, Welcome and thanks. Believe it or not, the neighbor's cat was also in the backyard, but did nothing about the rabbits, obviously!

Stay tuned for updates!
Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Cindy said...

One year I had bunnies nest in my raised bed of beets. They nested quite happily there and never did much damage at all. This year I haven't seen many bunnies around at all. Maybe I too will find a nest of them in some unsuspecting place.

Sherry at the Zoo said...

You are going to let leave those little baby bunnies alone, aren't you? After they are weaned from their mother, we would be happy to bring Muncie and Victoria over for a day or two...that will scare any rabbits away.

Lori in Webster Groves said...

I have to commend you on being trusting enough to believe the bunnies would follow the rules you'd established! I ended up building a small fortress around my new raised planting bed and obviously haven't had any trouble. But I also wonder whether the bunnies would have left my garden alone this year, as I haven't seen many of the little rascals, but I have seen a hawk patrolling our back fence line several times in the past couple of weeks.

Good luck deciding how to deal with the new little critters - I don't envy you that situation...

Lori in Webster Groves said...

One more note. I read this in the New York Times today and thought of you. Thought you might be interested...

I know the hyperlink won't work properly but you can copy and past it into your browser.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/garden/05animals.html?em&ex=1212811200&en=c1e05ebfb6e9d673&ei=5087%0A