Gardening with Groundhogs


It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything…with good reason.  I planted a summer garden as I do every year and since there has been plenty of rain, it is growing well.  Let me rephrase that…whatever has managed to grow despite the eating habits of groundhogs, is growing well.  I have several raised gardens that are waist-high for ease of weeding and I grow all my salad ingredients in those.  Over the years I have tried several varieties of bush beans, bush cucumbers, and small gourds – as you can imagine if you are a gardener, these types of veggies grow rapidly with vines and my raised gardens were soon overcome and dangling their fruit everywhere.  That was the beginning of my warfare with vermin…

I am a day-dreamer by choice and when weeding my garden I often slip into a memory that involves my full attention and therefore I no longer know that I am even pulling weeds.  This has resulted in, yes, you guessed it, pulling out my vegetable plants, but worse, touching things like beetles, worms, and prickly weeds.  Once, as I reached into a tangle of sweet pea pods, I felt something furry and immediately flung the furriness into the grass by the garden.  I cringe even now as I recall watching a small mouse shake itself back to life and stumble off to hide.  I naturally screamed.  I’m not fond of mice or snakes.  I washed my hands at least ten times after touching that mouse.  Ick!!

Snakes take part in growing a garden and although I recognize this on an intellectual basis, I have a problem being in the garden at the same time that a snake is visiting it. They are not reliable sources of mice control either as was evidenced in the last paragraph.   Suffice it to be known, the snake population has diminished since I have been living off the land here but there remains one four foot long snake that hides under my generator near the garden.  I know it’s there, but I scream everytime I see it and it slithers off – no doubt disgusted with me as well.

Yesterday, I proudly took my husband to see the wonderful growth of the garden and shrieked in total dismay when I saw that another culprit has decided to educate me as to the foibles of growing your own food.  My zucchini and green beans had been decimated by a woodchuck/groundhog…is there really a difference?  My heart was beating, my voice strident and angry as I exclaimed over the ravaging it had done.  I drove to the local Agway store and purchased a Hav-a-hart trap.  I could tell from the conversations that I had with the cashier there that I had little chance of catching it.  So far he has been right about that!

Today, I am going to throw in a few more goodies to entice the groundhog into his certain capture, but until then another friend has suggested using ammonia and pouring it into his hole.  I’ll keep you posted…