(the following was a part of a 2008 newsletter and is reposted here for your enjoyment)
Our desire to grow our gardens without chemicals has become stronger over the years, but we held this conviction even with our first garden in Burke, Wisconsin.
Our landlords were kind and had a section of ground tilled up for our garden. We already knew that there were many rabbits in our area and we had nightmarish visions of our entire garden being mowed over by the 'evil' little critters. We didn't really have the money for fencing and we weren't anxious to spray a repellant or kill the bunnies. So, what to do?
Thus begins our first foray into companion planting. We had heard from somewhere (or someone) that marigolds were a good companion plant for vegetable crops. Why? We didn't know. But, when we also heard that rabbits did NOT like marigolds and would tend to avoid them, we formulated a plan.
It was a simple plan that would be the master stroke. It would solve all of our rodent problems! Let's go buy enough marigolds to circle our garden. Surely it would provide us with a natural fence that would keep the critters out, be a friend to our vegetables, AND look pretty as well!
In went the garden. Around it went the marigolds. Marigolds in flats are not all that big - now that you see them in the ground. They were only 2 inches tall - most with a single marigold flower. We spread them out evenly on the border and watered them in well. In one day, we had planted our first garden and we went inside, feeling quite pleased with ourselves.
Our first morning foray into the garden revealed our first gardening tragedy. The tiny peppers were fine. The little tomato plants were fine. The broccoli plants? Well, we lost a couple. The marigolds?
Every last marigold plant had been nipped just above ground level. And, the plants (with now wilted flowers) were neatly lying next to the stem. It was true. Rabbits do not like marigolds.
And they had just seen to their removal.