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Marie Iannotti

What's Eating My Edible Yard?

By April 21, 2012

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I don't have unlimited space for gardens, so I try to squeeze things in wherever I can. Although I love the idea of edible landscaping, I have a enough trouble keeping the animals out of my fenced in vegetable garden. Planting vegetables throughout my lawn just seems to encourage every rabbit, groundhog and whatnot to homestead there. The only plants that survived last year were the okra and artichokes.

Have you had better success with edible landscaping and if so, what plants survived in your yard. (This kale was grown in protective custody. Flowers in the vegetable garden I can do. Vegetables in the flower beds is another story.)

Photo: © Marie Iannotti


April 21, 2012 at 8:52 am
(1) Pat says:

Right now I have cabbages, kale (both of which are bolting beautifully), strawberries, sage, thyme, mint, onions, lavender, and daylilies in my front yard. I have garlic, onions, asparagus, marjoram, and potatoes in the back.

But I have barely started planting for this season.

I’ve noticed that things survive better in my front yard than in my back yard, and I think it’s because there are street lights across the street from us. The street is very lightly traveled so I don’t think it’s because of the traffic, although that might make a difference.

Perhaps increasing the lighting in your yard might help? Something activated by motion like a sprinkler or light is bound to scare things off.

April 22, 2012 at 5:52 am
(2) gardening says:

Wow, cabbage and kale are 2 of my groundhog’s favorite foods. I’m very impressed you’ve had luck with them in your yard.

I do have one of those motion sprinklers, but I think the groundhog enjoys the occasional shower, because it doesn’t phase him.

April 24, 2012 at 1:06 am
(3) LeoW says:

We installed a ‘rabbit’ fence around our veggie garden (40′X15); this is up against regular wire fencing (4′ high); it’s in the ground at least 6″ and above ground a bit more so we have a double barrier against rabbits which were a big problem.
2 cats on patrol also have helped and the past 3 yrs we have had only 2 breeches of this arrangement; both small rabbits that were quickly caught and release elsewhere.

April 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm
(4) Bob Jones says:

No grounhogs here but rabbits galore. I have an elevated deck, 10′, and I am growing leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce, Savoy cabbage red onions, cucumbers, bush beans and cherry tomatoes-upside down hanger.

The bugs don’t seem to like the elevation. The deck is only 4′X9′ and I still have half of it to use for sitting out. If the rabbits can get up that high, they are welcome to my veggies.

April 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm
(5) Sharon says:

I had both zuchini and butternut squash up against the white picket fence dividing the front from the back. They both did great, I just cooked up the last of the winter squash last month. I also had tomatoes which were planted between the garage and the alley in the little strip of ground there. My tomatoes love the heat and light bouncing off the garage and alleyway and I have never had anything eat them. Chives and various other herbs also work well in the yard. I can’t put the tomatoes in the vegetable garden because of a black walnut tree which is too close and kills them off.

April 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm
(6) Hubh says:

Rabbits are a real problem where I live. They ate everything in my garden two years ago. So last summer I got some spray that consists of predator urine (or at least mimics it) and that really helped keep the critters away. This year I added a rabbit fence around my raised beds and am hoping for the best.

April 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm
(7) Jeri Hansen says:

I contain mine in containers, but I don’t trouble with rabbits or groundhogs.

April 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm
(8) Lynda says:

Wild rabbits abound here. They totally ate the neighbor’s new grass as it grew and at night it looked like a B movie scene. Another neighbor used sod and a little electric fence surround and his grass looks great. I have grown in straw bales and the bunnies even jump to the top of those to eat the cantaloupe leaves and flowers. Are groundhogs like gophers? we are also plagued with those and anything I put into the ground has to be in a wire ‘cage’. And it has to be wire mesh, not chicken wire as they can chew through that. I would love to have a big open garden!

April 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm
(9) mnmat says:

I also have a ground hog and rabbits that like to chew my veggies. Last year I finally resorted to a 2′ fence around my 4 raised beds. It worked like a charm. I’m planning on doing the same thing this year. I’m growing beets, tomatoes, green beans, cukes, watermelon, cantaloupe,acorn squash, eggplant, banana and bell peppers.

April 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm
(10) Marie Iannotti says:

Sounds like rabbits are taking over the world.

I have fencing buried and bent outward all around my veggie garden. The inside is lined with marigolds and onions and I place rags sprayed with deterrent along the outside. It keeps the rabbits out, but the groundhog can DIG like nothing I’ve ever seen. He can also climb and he is always hungry.

I like the idea of using containers and I think I’ll try incorporating some into the flower borders this year.

April 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm
(11) Mary E says:

I have tried to put vegies in the flower garden areas but my problem is two fold. I don’t have rabbits or groundhogs but have thousands of snails and earwigs. They eat the baby plants faster than they can grow, I have tried bait but it still doesn’t help. So I put my garden on one side of the house and do my best to keep my version of little critters out of the garden.

April 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm
(12) Casey says:

You didn’t remove all the clover the rabbits would much rather have did you??!

Go to the farm store and buy some seed in bulk. Clover in your lawn is very functional, you will water less as it shades the soil better, out competes many other pioneer plants and adds Nitrogen that the grass needs anyway.

Oh, don’t for get the rabbits tend to prefer clover over many other treats. :) They also love dandelion if you can get some going.

April 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm
(13) lee says:

Grow my scarlet runner beans along with my morning glories over arches and picket fences. The hummingbirds (great pollinators) love the flowers and I love harvesting the green beans.

April 29, 2012 at 11:32 am
(14) Tonya says:

Groundhogs have complex tunneling systems and wreaked havoc in my garden a few years back. Last year I decided to buy my cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower from the local farmers market instead of feeding the animals. I only planted, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and squashes. They began gnawing at the spaghetti squash ripening on the vine so this year that’s out too. If I live trap them and re-home them I could be fined because I’ve been told they don’t re-acclimate very well when moved. Any suggestions to how to get these guys to move will be greatly appreciated!
They even wintered up under my crawl space under the bathroom and caused a horrible flood in my Michigan basement last Spring, I was denied any help from my insurance company!

April 30, 2012 at 6:30 am
(15) Marie Iannotti says:

Tonya, I don’t know where you are, but here in NY I was able to hire someone licensed to trap and relocate groundhogs. It cost me $75. It helped for a while, but those complex tunnels you mention are fair game for new groundhogs moving into the area. It didn’t take long for another one to claim my garden as theirs.

May 15, 2012 at 4:53 pm
(16) karen says:

I too have veg and herbs planted all over. No problem BUT last year I planted tomatoes very close to my arborvitae boy what problems with white flies and spiders at that spot. Be careful.

May 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm
(17) Marie Iannotti says:

That’s a new one for me. So arborvitae doesn’t make a good companion plant for tomatoes. Or vice versa. I wonder if there would be a problem with other evergreens.

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