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Rabbits and elephant garlic

Hi all, 

I've planted some elephant garlic at my allotment.  It's in an unfenced area,  and thus possibly vulnerable to rabbits.  We haven't seen any of the latter yet,  but it's early days.  I know that rabbits tend not to eat garlic, but I believe elephant garlic is more closely related to the Leek,  which I believe they do sometimes eat. I'd be really interested to hear other people's experiences. With growing the latter.  I do have an area that I made rabbit proof,  so I could move them. 

Thanks in advance! 

Posts

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,905

    Well the rabbits here haven't tried to eat mine, but that may be because there are lots more tender things to eat. If their only choices are elephant garlic or brambles (because everything else is fenced), they may have a nibble. I should think the risk will be when the garlic shoots are just beginning to emerge - they quickly grow tall and pretty thick leaved and much more strongly garlic than leeks so will quickly become uninteresting. Either give some temporary protection when the garlic is newly planted (it comes up fast, IME) or grow a more tempting sacrificial crop of (say) lettuce at the other end of the plot and hope to distract them for a week or two

    Having said that of course I was always told rabbits won't eat strongly scented plants generally, like mint, for example. But if you have a big enough bunny population, as I did in my last house, they will eat absolutely everything. So it does depend on how hungry the rabbits are really, more than on what you grow

    Last edited: 24 November 2017 09:33:58

    “This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic.”
    ― Terry Pratchett
  • Hi Raisingirl,

    Many thanks for the insightful reply! At present the elephant garlic is just peaking through the soil, so  it sounds like they may be potentially vulnerable for a bit. And it's a new crop for me, so I'm not sure how long it will take them to grow big enough to be less appetising.  There is some spinach, raddichio and florence fennel in an adjacent bed, so they may be a sufficient  decoy - although I'd be a bit upset, I've not invested as much heart (and money :-) ) in these :-) The garlic is being grown on an allotment site in its first year. We've yet to to experience rabbits on the site, but there are many rabbits in surrounding fields and I guess they'll be getting more hungry as the cold season kicks in. I rabbit-proofed my first plot on this allotment site, but having acquired part of someone elses - where the garlic resides - I remembered the pain of the rabbit proofing so and so have not yet repeated the process.

    On balance of probabilities it sounds like I _should_ be okay. To be on the safe side, as you suggest, I''m leaning towards putting something over the top of the garlic whilst it matures a bit; maybe some plastic bottles over each clove; or I could find some leftover chicken wire and create a small hoop over them, which I bury at each end...

    Kind regards

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,905

    I'd go for the chicken wire cloche. It might not keep them off something really tasty but with something they aren't too bothered about, it will probably be adequate. By the time the garlic is trying to get through the cloche, it'll probably be tough enough so you can just take it off.

    If you go for the plastic bottles, then cut both top and bottom off completely to make a tall, open collar. If it stands about 5 or 6 inches above the ground, it will deter the rabbits and if it's open, it won't over-heat the garlic or stop the rain getting to it. I'd still be tempted to lift the collar off once the garlic is taller than it - it needs a good dose of weather to grow well.

    As an aside, I think the thing they most like to eat is short, sweet grass. So keeping a mown lawn/path away from the tasty veg is a reasonable distraction and simple enough to do.

    Last edited: 26 November 2017 10:18:57

    “This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic.”
    ― Terry Pratchett
  • Hi Raisingirl,

    I've taken your sage-like advice and gone with the chicken wire cloche. I feel I can now sleep without worry :-) After all this, here's for some well developed cloves next season!

    Many thanks for the comments re short, sweet grass. I'll bear that in mind in a couple of months time when I decide how to proceed to protect this second plot.

    Kind regards.

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