Raised garden outsmarts hungry rabbits

Jerry Apps
Paul and the climbing beans.

I am still smarting from the bunny damage to the bean patch in our farm garden. For more than 50 years of gardening, have I never seen such hungry bunnies. They obviously preferred my green beans to several acres of prairie grass that they could have eaten, and have generally enjoyed over the years.

There is a bright spot in this story of bunny destruction, least you believe Ruth and I have gone the summer without our favorite, fresh green beans from the garden. The answer: my little four-by-eight kitchen garden that grows just a few feet from the garage door. My son-in-law, Paul, has been largely responsible for building this little garden, which, by the way, is enclosed with a bunny-proof fence.

Back in May, I planted five pole bean seeds. Along with a few climbing cucumbers, some lettuce and three tomato plants. In a few days the bean plants poked out of the ground, and soon began climbing. In just a few weeks they had grown to the top of the bunny fence and were sending their tendrils in the air, searching for more climbing space. Paul to the rescue. He added a few more feet to the top of the fence, and the beans kept climbing.

And then the green beans began appearing, not one or two, but handfuls of them every week. And tasty, right up there with the bush beans from the farm that we didn’t have this year. The beans continued to climb all through August, right through September, and on into October. Now in mid-October, I picked a small bucket full of them, enough for Ruth to make a bean casserole. As long as frost holds off, we’ll continue to have beans. One of the bright spots in our garden season.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: What a surprise. So many beans from so few plants.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to www.jerryapps.com.