Sunday, May 19, 2013

Garden Update: the Destructive ROUS Edition

A couple of weeks ago, when I did a garden update, things were coming along beautifully. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peas - all of them were well on their way to producing. In fact, the peas were nearly ready to bloom. Then the Rodents of Unusual Size (ROUS) struck: groundhogs. I came home from a ride last Sunday and caught it in the act.  I swear it was the size of a well-fed cocker spaniel. In just a couple of days, they mowed down all of the cool-weather plantings except for fennel, radishes, and turnips, all of which have fuzzy leaves that I've since learned make them unpalatable. Our peas went from this, to this:
Here's the destruction they wrought on the broccoli:
We tried pinwheels, since motion is supposed to frighten them. I think they thought the pinwheels meant the buffet was open. We tried a product called Shake Away, which is made of, wait for it, fox urine crystals.  The theory is that it is supposed to make the groundhogs thing there are predators in the area, so they won't come around. Don't waste your money. Our groundhogs, apparently did not get the memo that they are supposed to dislike fox urine.  So, now we have a motion-sensor sprinkler. It goes off when it senses a heat source moving in front of it. So far, so good. Unfortunately, we discovered the burrow on our neighbor's property, underneath his shed. And the three young groundhogs sticking their noses out. Great, we have a family. This could turn into Caddyshack.

For the moment, they are leaving our summer crops alone, so those are growing well.
 Corn sprouts.
 Lima bean sprouts
 Tradescantia virginiana (Spiderwort).  Another gift from the friends who moved to Colorado.
 Another view of T. virginiana.
 Crookneck squash coming up on one of their hills.
I planted some potatoes in the ground this year, but I had great success with potatoes in bags last year, so I wanted to do that again.  This year, we have four bags.  The red ones are the ones we used last year.  Rather than buying two more, I used two cheap shopping bags that were just sitting in the closet. They are about the same height as the red ones, but not as big around, so I just put fewer eyes in them.
 Edamame plants coming along.
 Water droplets on an edamame leaf.
The entire garden. When I took this, there was one bed left to dig in the middle.  Michael has since finished it.  When it stops raining and dries out, cantaloupe will go there.
 Leeks.  This one is about the diameter of a pencil right now.
The blueberry bushes have set fruit.

1 comment:

  1. I heard from a Dutchman in Berks County, PA that the thing to do is feed groundhogs bubblegum.