Friday, May 13, 2011

War On Wabbits

This is the weed purslane, which grows in our tree yard and in the driveway expansion joints every summer:

 photo by ZooFari
When I was at the garden shop last weekend picking out flowers for the front yard I was surprised to see a cultivated type of purslane for sale.  This one had thicker stems, larger leaves, and came with bright pink, salmon, or yellow flowers.  The plant tag touted "vibrant flowers on ground-hugging plants with thick, succulent foliage".  I talked to a fellow flower buyer who said last year this variety had done really well in her garden.  I'm always willing to try something new, so I bought two yellow and one pink plant, brought them home, and planted them. If they grow half as well as their wild cousins, they'll have earned their place in my garden.

However, yesterday I was doing some weeding and saw that my purslane plants seemed a bit less dense than they had been on Saturday. I took a closer look, and saw that some of the leaves had been nibbled down to stubs. SOMETHING was eating on them! I suspected it was the rabbit I saw hopping across the yard yesterday.  I decided to try making a natural rabbit repellent, and based my concoction on the eHow article Homemade Rabbit Control in Gardens. They suggested pureeing jalapeño peppers and water, letting the liquid drip out, then adding other ingredients for use in a spray bottle.

However, I changed the recipe a bit.  I went to the grocery store and bought two habanero peppers, the hottest I could find. When I got home I cut them into pieces and put them in a jar with a bit of water. I microwaved the peppers until they were soft, reduced them to a puree with my immersion blender, then added olive oil, a drop of glue and a drop of dish detergent. The mixture smelled quite toxic, and burned my finger when some splashed on it!

I didn't have a squirt bottle available, so I used a teaspoon to dribble the mixture on the leaves of each plant. There was some left over, so I walked around the corner to the side yard to pour it on the hostas, another bunny favorite. On my way back, I stopped to pull a couple of weeds from the driveway expansion joints, and saw some tiny wild purslane plants starting to grow.

Should I direct the rabbits to them?


  1. I think I recognize those weeds.

    I tried to leave you a comment yesterday but blogger was going down. I read that you got laid off from your job and was sorry to hear that, the shock of it anyway. Good luck in finding yourself the perfect new job!

  2. I get this in my garden, too! I pick it and feed it to Nugget! ha.

  3. I do believe I've seen the weed version of that plant here also. I guess that's why they used to grow wild over here. No wabbits!