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Rabbits and Water!

Thinking about our problem with rabbits on the new allotment I suddenly had a thought;- Will Rabbits jump up onto a raised bed if they can't see on to it, ie; will they jump into potential danger? I was thinking about all the wildlife programs where you see herds of grazing type animals crossing rivers in exactly the same place by the thousand instead of trying a few yards down the river where no other animals are crossing. Is this herd instinct, stupidity, or fear of not knowing the river conditions elsewhere? Will, timid vegetarian animals put themselves in danger by exploring the unknown? Instructions for installing Rabbit proofing on allotments state that wire fencing should be buried so deep and be so high as rabbits do dig and jump, but they can see through the wire. I have never kept rabbits so don’t know if they will they jump a low, solid fence, where they can’t see if there is any danger on the other side. Having spoken to one or two people with allotments and raised beds, where others have had rabbit problems, they have said that they have not. This may provide another solution to avoid problems with rabbit damage, although of course raised beds do need an enormous amount of soil to make them.

After the owner of our site mowed the grass recently there have been far fewer new rabbit droppings around and I have seen some broken egg shells. My first thought was that they were hen’s eggs that foxes had dropped, but more cynically it occurred to me that they might have been put there deliberately to tempt foxes to the plots where they would then find the rabbits and deal with our problem naturally. The field immediately next to the site is full of young lambs at the moment, so I am sure that there will be foxes around.

Up until now the Rabbits have been plaguing me, because my plot was the first planted and they obviously decided mine was the best restaurant in town, however, now some of the other plots have green plants growing, maybe the rabbits will explore their plots instead of mine!

In this part of the country it has been the driest April imaginable and the worst possible springtime planting conditions. The surface of the ground has been just dust for weeks, but the soil is still damp deeper down and plants that had deeper roots on them when planted, or were grown in large pots before planting, are not doing too badly. Due to the warm weather I was tempted to plant all sorts of vegetables that I had ready in the greenhouse, but fortunately I held back, because the dry weather is very bad for planting and it was just as well with the late frost we had on the night of May 3rd/4rth.

The unseasonably warm temperatures were wonderful for the blossom which has stayed on the trees longer than usual making a magnificent display, but it if stays too dry the embryo fruits will not develop and will simply drop resulting in a very poor harvest in the autumn.

Also due to the warm weather we had a water shortage problem on the site that has now been dealt with as promised by the site owner. He had put two large water barrels at the entrance for people to dip their cans into, but being so dry and with so many 4 day Bank Holliday weekends in April, the builders on site weren’t filling them every day and we were running short at times. The much promised Cattle trough has now arrived at last and been installed. It certainly is a “Cattle” trough as it is huge. I have never seen one so big! You could put at least one cow in it and it is so big the cow could have a proper swim as well! I am reminded of the old ‘Cowboy Films’ where the cowboys got into fights and were always being thrown into the big horse troughs outside the saloons!
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