When I planted butternut squash seeds, I enclosed the two beds with fencing to keep rabbits from chewing off their shoots. I put off to another day the fact that squash plants can sprawl as much as six feet.
Another day arrived this week. The first squash plant to reach the wire fence presented me with a dilemma. How can I keep these tender shoots from becoming rabbit food?
I cut holes in the chicken-wire fence to make it easier for the squash runners to pass through (photo below). Then I got out a bag of human hair I got from Eliana, our neighborhood barber.
My theory is that rabbits, which always seem to be sniffing the air, will detect the smell of humans in the hair and stay away. I stuffed some of the hair in the head of a scarecrow that didn’t seem to be scaring anyone, and hung it on the fence. Then I stuffed the rest of the hair in some old pantyhose and leaned it up against the fence.
Betsy says what I created looks like an extra-terrestrial or a ghost. Well, that should frighten rabbits away, right? But what do I do when the other squash shoots reach the fence in other places? When they extend four or five feet beyond the fence?
I’ve put in a request for more hair from Eliana, but I need to think up other strategies. Maybe some cayenne pepper sprinkled on the shoots to scare off the rabbits? How about some fox pee?
Meanwhile, most of our garden has loved the abundant rain of the past month, especially the peas, lettuce and zucchini. With the warmer temperatures over the next week, we’ll almost be able to watch the tomato plants grow. (The ones with red plastic mulch are doing much better than those without.) But it ain’t over til the risk of late blight is over.
The cool weather has not been kind to the eggplants and peppers. Even though I waited until the nights were above 50 degrees before planting, they have not thrived. The slugs have been thriving, but I’ve refined my techniques. Every two days I put down Sluggo and plates of beer, and in the morning I give the ones that get past those temptations a bath in salty water. Take that!
There have been no problems with woodchucks so far. Last summer I trapped and killed about six of these garden marauders, and I think that the word went out on the woodchuck social network that I was one bad dude you don’t want to mess with.
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