, Salem, MA


May 23, 2014

North Shore Gardener: A natural repellent for pesky rabbits

Q: Is this an unusually good year for rabbits? There seem to be rabbits every time and every place I turn around, big and small. What can I use, short of a shotgun, to scare them away? Nothing scares them — not even the cat — and I just planted a large garden of vegetables and herbs. Help, please!

A: How to make Bunny Juice: (Don’t worry! No bunnies were harmed in the making of this article.)

Let four cloves of garlic and 1 ounce of mineral oil soak for 24 hours. In a separate container, mix together 16 ounces of water, 1 teaspoon fish emulsion and 1 tablespoon vegetable-based soap. (This recipe is not for human consumption! Label carefully — it looks like salad dressing.)

Combine all ingredients, straining the garlic cloves out, and store in a glass container with a good seal. The mixture should last a few months. Use by mixing 2 tablespoons of Bunny Juice with 1 pint of water and spray on all plants that bunnies tend to nibble. Repeat after rain or after watering foliage.

Q: Is asparagus truly a perennial veggie?

A: Yes, once it is established. The only other perennial veggie is rhubarb.

I am at the three-year stage with my asparagus bed this spring, and I expect to harvest. Asparagus may be the most expensive veggie in your garden, at least for the first few years.

The first year, don’t cut a thing. A few pencil-thin shoots emerge and, as the season goes on, develop into fine, ferny foliage which may be cut for bouquets.

Asparagus roots will perhaps yield one usable shoot per plant the first year. So, for the first year, that’s about $20 a pound for the first pound of asparagus you grow, and that doesn’t even include the fertilizer, manure, and peat — or your labor. But trust me, it gets better and tastier every year after that. And you won’t have to buy roots and replant this garden for at least another decade or two.

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