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The Gophers Are Coming...The Gophers Are Coming! — The Grow Network Community
People who love to eat are always the best people.

- Julia Child

The Gophers Are Coming...The Gophers Are Coming!

greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

Normally I am pretty acceptable with the wildlife visiting my garden. After all, my garden is in their home (the outdoors) is the way I feel.

But they sure are stepping up their game this year.

I intentionally sow wildlife gardens too each year on the outside edges of my garden so they can eat their way thru them. All of that is just so they "cross my fingers" learn to leave my garden alone.

This year though, I'd swear every gopher on the eastern part of this state has landed in my yard.

Since they all finish off their garden, they seem to believe mine is just as good also.

Gotta come up with a new plan for next year since they've already learned now their garden is just the start of the delicacies. Move a little more over and there's more to enjoy!

I still have a lot of that bamboo I chopped down and cleaned... a garden fence is going to have to be next.


  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,527 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball I too am fighting gopher/squirrels/voles? that are eating my landscaping and any seedlings that I have started (even non food). I have been trying to persuade them to move out a little further into my desert area's plants but that hasn't been working. Surely landscape plants can't taste that good? I won't let my husband poison them. I have to plan for those buggers before I invest in any real food gardening.

    Do you think our magnetic, caring personalities are drawing them on a subliminal level? In my case, I have a birdfeeder, hummingbird feeder, plus shallow water dishes for the wildlife.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,469 admin

    The groundhogs where I live are nice and big and provide excellent meat - really among the best of game. Apparently though, several critters go by the name ground hog or gopher, whistle pig, marmot, etc.... if your are tasty, maybe they could be more of a boon than a niusance?

  • SandraKaySandraKay Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    I have several outdoor cats now and that seems to have drastically reduced my gopher population.  I have heard that oleander will deter them, but my hubby hates oleander and cut it down at our house before I knew and could stop him  (years ago)


  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 409 ✭✭✭✭

    I have horrible gopher issues and had to resort to cats and redoing all my beds with hardware cloth beneath them. I have to cover them October through March because of the birds. But wow was it worth the effort to redo it all, because for the first time ever I eat most of what I plant!

    This picture is from March when my garden was still in total lockdown!

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,874 admin

    Gophers (no matter which species) can become a real issue if allowed to overpopulate. The species name for the one in my area is Richardsons Ground Squirrel, so not as big as the ground hogs that @judsoncarroll4 has. I don't think they would be much good for eating except in a survival situation. We also have a much larger species, the Yellow Bellied Marmot aka Rock Chuck. They are much smaller in population and do not usually present the hazards that gophers create. Gophers have become overpopulated in my area to the point that they have become a real hazard for livestock and wildlife (and people). Just recently, we spotted a calf with a broken leg that looked like he had stepped in one of their holes. I have stepped in their holes when out picking and have badly twisted my ankle on one occasion. They even have holes in the hard packed road surface. Again, creating issues if we have intense rain storms that will further erode the holes. It would take an extraordinary amount of poison to deal with the problem and the most effective poisons have been banned here. The only remaining option is to shoot them. Which I feel is much more humane than poison.

    There was another thread on the subject of using Juicy Fruit to get rid of them. I had also heard that bubble gum would work. So we got Juicy Fruit Bubble Gum. Put out several packages but no change whatsoever in the gopher population. A couple of days with the 22 has taken care of the ones in our yard. At least until some of the neighbours up the road realise that there are free holes ready to occupy in my yard.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,527 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We use an electric trap for ground squirrels at our cabin because I will not use poison or sticky traps. Those squirrels have damaged both of our vehicles.

    You put bait inside the tube and wait. The unit electrocutes the animal and then beeps for emptying. I can live with this method because it is humane and I don't have to worry about poisoning the whole food chain. The local crows have been appreciative of the extra, non-poisonous meals.

    That being said, I do not let my husband target any animals that are not threatening our building/parking areas. I remind him that we are there because we want to interact with nature.

  • Lisa KLisa K Posts: 601 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes the gophers have returned to my front yard big time! Luckily as far as the backyard I have two owls that patrol at night plus I have also used hardware cloth on the bottom of my 3 raised-beds.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @shllnzl , now I can not say this procedure works for sure but at the end of last year's gardening season is when I first started having problems. It was just in one bed though. So I just kept looking around all winter to see what I could come up with that I could live with myself over. (As I said, I'm in their yard since the outside is their home. I just can't tolerate killing them since I'm the interloper here).

    But somewhere I read pet hair, especially from the cat, will help solve the problem. So I spent the entire winter saving all my pet's hair. I have 4 long haired cats and a few short-haired ones that I do brush every day so I got an entire 13 gallon bag of hair saved up. I placed this hair all around the perimeter of the bed this Spring along with a string fence with metallic ornaments(foil cupcake liners tied onto the string with yarn).

    So either the gophers do not like beans (pole, bush and wax beans), spaghetti squash or cucumbers which are all in that bed or the pet hair or foil is doing it's job. Their hasn't been any damage to that bed this year.

    But my greens beds are wonderful delicacies. My flowers are dessert. Appetizers seems to be the beets and carrots. They haven't figured out a protein source yet though from my garden.

    So either get some cats or start asking everybody you know to save all the pet hair and give it a try. It sure has worked well on that one bed.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @Megan Venturella your setup is beautiful but how do you ever get into it to work the bed?

    That is my biggest hangup with row covers. Yes I use them in some areas where it is needed but it is such a waste of my time getting those things on and off so I can work the bed.

    Seems to me there must be a better way.

  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 409 ✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball I agree they are a big pain, but I only have them weighted down by boards. At first I used jars filled with water, but the boards were easier. I had to be careful not to catch the netting on slivers. It’s definitely a little tricky! When the nasturtiums in front got just a little bigger I had to leave them out of the net, and the runner beans on the edge also had to come out. But since I only use them during the slower growing cooler months, I only opened it up to weed, etc. once a week. That wasn’t too bad. Now, of course, I have to check the cucumbers and beans every day or two, so it would drive me crazy. I will do it again come October.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,527 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball I did plug rodent holes in my front yard with used cat litter, and the holes were abandoned. I haven't had enough neighbors around for negative comments about the look of the litter, but I have had neighborhood cats visiting -- no doubt they considered the litter to be an invitation. Neighbor dogs have a message center out by the front sidewalk. Luckily, most of the owners pick up after them.

    I also have spread coffee grounds around because I understood rodents didn't like them. I have to be careful though, as coffee makes soil more acidic and desert plants prefer alkaline soils.

    My two dogs leave deposits both front and back yard. My German Shepherd also sheds profusely. I also comb him outside and leave the fur to natural recycling. (Hmm, she has cat waste, dog waste and fur all over the yard??)

    All of the above has redirected and maybe slowed down the rodent beasts. My okra seedlings/seeds and cilantro disappeared so something ate them. Believe me, I know I must plan very carefully before I prepare and invest in a serious food garden.

    Nothing has eaten my lemon thyme plant -- maybe I should plant them all over the yard.

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