We have had an issue with wild rabbits for the last couple of years in part this is a success for us, when we arrived here in 2004 we would never see wild rabbits on or near our property. Travel five kilometres or so to near by villages and they would be all over the verges and sometimes in the road. On some of our land we have excluded domestic stock and let it naturally regenerate, and now we are seeing wild rabbits here for the first time, the natural regeneration is providing habitat. We have also planted hedges round our vegetable garden and this is now a wildlife corridor the rabbits are taking advantage of to access our readily available produce nicely set out on slightly raised beds. Last year the rabbits took more than their fare share of our produce and now it time to creatively adapt to the change.
We have two 60cm high constructed raised bed close to the house which we had no issue with loss of produce in, so now we are building two more. They have many advantages over our earth raised beds not least of which is the hight making them very easy to weed, plant and harvest.
The first two are made of green oak from the local timber mill, some of their timber even comes from the forest which borders our property on three sides. The oak is cut 6cm thick by 20cm deep and the beds measure two meters by one. First I cut everything to length and bring it to the site for the beds. Then dig out the soil to level the ground on this slightly sloping area. Then attach the first two pieces together in to an L-shape and check the level.
Add the second L-shape and the first layer is done, after a quick check for level on the whole frame.
Then repeat the same process for the next layer.
One more time to and its nearly done.
Just the goal post to add over the centre of the bed to finish. Then there were two.
The goal post is to support a removable tent of reinforced plastic sheet to help with seed germination and over night protection from late frosts.
Then they are filled with plenty of our composted cows muck and bedding, followed by more compost from one of our compost shower installations. One of our compost sower bins is located indoors and due to the heat and location produces seed free compost so we use this for the tops of beds and potting.
The top bed is already seeded and showing seedlings the bottom one is ready to be planted up with seedlings from the greenhouse.
We now have eight square meters of rabbit proof raised beds close to the house. These will be used for salad components and other crops which mature quickly. These are not the last raised beds we will be building here but the others will be further away and will be used for long maturation plants and perennial veg.
All the best.