Living in a rural area or on a small hobby farm is a dream come true for most avid gardeners. Having wildlife right outside your door may be an amazing sight, but it can also be a huge chore trying to keep hungry animals out of your garden.
Rabbits are a common problem in rural areas. Rabbits are attracted to any planting of fresh vegetables, so even if you're simply growing a small plot of tomatoes outside your kitchen door, you may soon discover the rabbits have found those tomatoes and told all their friends about them too.
There are many strategies for keeping rabbits out of your tomato plants. Old-fashioned remedies include scattering human hair from the beauty parlor or planting marigolds around your tomatoes. In both cases the rabbits are repelled by the smell. Longer-term solutions involve putting up fences or creating raised tomato garden beds.
Buy wire mesh fencing that's at least 22 inches high to keep out regular rabbits, and 28 inches high to keep out jackrabbits. Use mesh with 1-inch holes or less because rabbits can squeeze through larger openings.
Wrap the mesh fencing around the perimeter of your tomato garden, attaching it to poles or stakes at the corners for support. If you have a large tomato bed, place additional support poles as needed.
Bury the wire mesh fencing at least 4 inches all the way around your garden so that the rabbits are not able to push through underneath. This creates an 18- to 24-inch tall fence, depending on the size of wire mesh purchased.
Create a raised bed tomato garden patch that's at least 18 inches high to discourage rabbits from jumping into the bed.
Line the bottom inside of your raised bed with fine-meshed hardware cloth, and attach it securely to also discourage gophers from digging in.
Fill your raised garden bed with soil and compost as you normally would, then plant your tomato plants safely from rabbits.