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Tuesday, 18th June 2002, West Yorkshire

rabbitAs we're eating breakfast out on the patio there's a movement down by the compost bins. Have next door's hens found their way in again? No, it's worse than that; there's a large rabbit down there, which scurries off under the hedge.

A year or two ago we noticed that our courgette plants were disappearing one by one and that the runner beans got sliced off as soon as they appeared above ground. We suspected slugs at first and it wasn't until after a while that we spotted the rabbit. We had to buy new courgette plants and start from scratch with the beans.

After throwing my hands up in horror and panic - always my first reaction - I set about making the veg beds rabbit-proof, as far as I can.

runner beans The runner beans get a cordon of chicken wire around them, held in place by garden canes.

cold frame The cold frame, with the lid off, offers protection for two of the courgette plants.

fleece over courgettes The other two have to make do with a scruffy old bit of garden fleece slung over them. And, knowing how easily rabbits can slip beneath a barrier, I've weighed it down with plenty of bricks around the edges.

The broad beans are big enough to look after themselves and I'm hoping the same is true of the page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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