Fencing the area with two-foot high, fine mesh (1-inch or smaller) can effectively keep out rabbits. Use stakes or electric fence posts to support the mesh.
Floating row covers are typically a solution for getting a jumpstart on the growing season by creating a warmer microclimate around the planter beds. It can also serve as a protection from insects and wildlife. Choose a lightweight, white fabric such as polyester for row covers to be used for pest exclusion. Monitor the temperature underneath the cover and remove it if the temperature climbs above 90 degrees F.
Repellants, trapping and shooting are other controls sometimes used by gardeners. Repellents typically require frequent reapplications for best control and may be poisonous making them unsafe to use on plants for human consumption. Live traps can be used to capture rabbits and relocate them to another location several miles away. Getting rabbits to enter the trap can be tricky considering the buffet of food available in the garden, but using a tightly rolled cabbage leaf held closed with a toothpick can work. If safe and legal, shooting can also be effective.
Motion-activated sprinklers can scare off predators. Attached to the garden hose, the sprinkler releases short bursts of water when motion is detected. Contech, Orbit and Havahart are suppliers that advertise protecting up to 1,000 square feet. (Cynthia Domenghini)