A Gopher in Your Garden

comments (9) March 8th, 2010

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ChrisMcLaughlin Chris McLaughlin, contributor
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Dont let this fuzzy little face fool you. He probably just ate your cabbage.
Photo by Morrow Bay Chuck under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.Click To Enlarge

Don't let this fuzzy little face fool you. He probably just ate your cabbage.


Photo by Morrow Bay Chuck under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

Okay all you garden gopher hunters, I'm looking for some solid advice. No matter how crazy your solution may be, we want to hear about it! Our family is once again expanding our burgeoning home garden to our local community gardens.

It's a beautiful place that sits above a year-round creek. The ambiance is nothing if not tranquil. The community of gardeners there are of the friendly sort who are more than willing to share extra plants, as well as personal gardening tricks-of-the-trade. But one secret has managed to evade even these seasoned growers. How to out-smart the gophers.

Some people have carefully dug trenches around the parameter of their beds, placing a mesh barrier between the open land and their veggies. Some have used those stake things that are suppose to emit a pitch so high that it practically make the rodents' ears bleed. I'm guessing that was an over-sell. Because as far as I can tell, the gophers can't even hear it (although, I've noticed there are no dogs hanging around).

Several gardeners have set out traps for the little plant thieves, and still others have spent entire weekends lining every square foot of their garden with hardware cloth, then replacing the soil. We were there when a husband and wife gardening team had just finished lining their own bed. As the couple gulped down a well-earned bottle of water and congratulated themselves for a job well done, we watched as one patient little dude popped up out of his burrow, ambled over to the garden bed, climbed in between the fence, and sat down to nibble some lettuce.

The last time we had a community garden plot, we simply over-planted our produce and shared with the gophers. They always left us some, but that didn't stop us from pining over the plants that were lost down the gopher holes. After watching these gardeners try every back-breaking, mind-numbing thing they could think of to protect their own, I've decided to throw in the towel before I ever break a sweat. I think we'll just over-plant again and give the little suckers names.


posted in: pests, gophers

Comments (9)

Andylee2 writes: So cute
Posted: 12:50 pm on August 1st
Lazythumb writes: Not sure where you are from but in Northern California we have a terrible problem with pocket gophers. What I have been told is that the only real way to protect your garden is to trap them and /or line the whole bed with gopher wire. The wire works as long as they don't decide to burrow from the top! Gophers live in a smaller area than moles, so trapping them is not that hard (unless you have several). Find a fresh hole. I use a "black box" trap and killed one the first day I tried. Don't touch the trap with bare hands and keep it covered. Moles don't eat your garden- just disturb the roots sometimes, so I leave them alone.
Posted: 4:02 pm on May 14th
JadaE writes: Don't ignore them too much though...they have an amazing ability to procreate. One gopher usually means a sweet cuddly family hiding under the barn!

My parents "evicted" a gopher family a couple of years ago, who had moved in under their barn and set up a nice multi-room home. The exterminator found "bedrooms", their "pantry", even an underground restroom set apart from the other "rooms"! Aside from being burglers of tomatoes, pests in general, and uninvited renters on your property, gophers are quite fastidious! :)

Posted: 4:56 pm on March 15th
myseasons writes: I honestly do not know if I have gophers or moles. My neighbors all say gophers. Anyway, each time I put in a perennial I dig the hole, put in what additives I want then I sprinkle the hole liberally with cayenne pepper and plant. For whatever little creature is in the ground there, he does no longer eat the plant.

I haven't had them in the vegetable garden but my neigbors have and they all have some sort of chicken wire under their raised beds.

I also sprinkle cayenner pepper on the edges of the containers I have planted with salad stuff. This is not for gophers, but for the squirels.
Posted: 10:45 pm on March 13th
ChrisMcLaughlin writes: "I'm alllright...don't nobody worry 'bout me....." (Now picture that little guy dancing)
Posted: 1:09 pm on March 13th
JadaE writes: If Bill Murray couldn't get him with dynamite... :)
Posted: 12:37 pm on March 13th
aswissgirl writes: I was so upset by the Gophers last season I thought of many things. I did buy those sound sticks that beep and do not work at all. The gophers burrow right up to them and check them out. This year I dug up all 15 of my beds and put down Hardware cloth. ( also changed the whole garden to drip at the same time) My other thought was to build an owl house but decided to get chickens this year so discarded that idea. My last idea if the hardware cloth does not work is I will get a few Gopher snakes and lead them down the fresh gopher wholes. Provided Gopher snakes don't bite people. (I have little kids). For now I will see how the hardware cloth goes and get back to this post in August. Cross your fingers....
Posted: 9:52 am on March 12th
ChrisMcLaughlin writes: Wait..wait..wait...you mean plant their own garden (like I do by feeding the squirrels)? Well, in a way, that's *kind of* my theory. Plant a ton - they take some and leave me some. Their burrows seem to go all willy-nilly; no pattern.

Please come back and explain - my readers and I are sitting here waiting...*tap*tap*tap*
Posted: 11:34 pm on March 9th
WhatsTheMuck writes: Install a separate gopher garden surrounding the burrow(s). Repeat weekly. Problem solved.
Posted: 9:32 pm on March 9th
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