Monday, May 18, 2009

Some Things Are Discouraging

Maybe I am impatient. I planted potatoes on May 4th (two weeks ago) and don't see any sign of potato sprouts yet. The pieces of potato that I planted seemed in good condition and those several that I didn't cut into pieces should not have rotted if that is was happened to the others. I planted asparagus crowns April 29th (two and a half weeks ago) and don't see any sign of asparagus shoots. Admittedly the asparagus crowns really looked in bad shape - more like dry strings - but I know that 20+ years ago when I planted our current asparagus they didn't look like they had potential either. But I can't imagine that these asparagus crowns have the strength to send anything through six inches of soil. I looked at an article on asparagus several days ago and the advice of that article would have been to not buy asparagus crowns that looked like the ones I received.

For several weeks I have been disappointed in the growth of all the lettuce that I have planted. It just seemed to be very slow. And a few were disappearing. In fact, one group of six or eight seedlings that I planted in one spot were all gone several days later. I blamed slugs. Then, on Friday I discovered that almost all of my broccoli plants that were in three different locations had been chewed almost to the ground. My immediate thought was groundhog. But a few minutes later seven year old Julia next door called over that they had seen a deer jumping the fence from our yard into their yard that morning. So then I thought "deer". Saturday I went to the Regional Market to buy more broccoli and friends there didn't think that deer would eat broccoli. Sounded more like groundhog to them.
This morning every one of the twelve new broccoli plants was eaten to the ground. And the lettuce looks more chewed than stunted so I think those plants have been trimmed back by the groundhog also. And the parsley that I planted out recently has been cut back.
We used to have a ground hog living under our shed until I put hardware cloth around the base of the shed and down into the ground. No problem for a number of years. Last year there seemed to be one episode of severe damage to the brussels sprouts. I was also told that there was a ground hog living a couple of houses away under a shed. This year the damage seems to be daily. I am pretty sure that fencing will not work unless it is fairly high and set about a foot into the ground. The fence that I have around part of the garden to discourage rabbits certainly hasn't and won't stop a determined ground hog.
Now I am afraid to plant out the warm weather vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers) for fear that some (or all) of them will be delightful treats for the ground hog.


  1. I don't know about groundhogs, but coffee grounds are said to deter rabbits. The coffee grounds are good for the soil anyway, so it might be worth a shot to put some around each broccoli plant.

  2. Try electric net fencing.
    You can get a portable fence charger at Tractor supply for under $100, works off a car batter or some D batteries.
    Will keep out ground hogs and get your garden back