Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nothing is more disheartening than animals eating our food.

We had seen a groundhog in the back yard from time to time. It had been living under our rain barrels at some time because when I finally got around to leveling the slightly tilted rain barrel there was a huge hole underneath it. Too large to be from the rain overflow when the barrel was full. Plus the soil was pushed up against the wood fence, not something that water would do. I filled in the hole but a couple of days later it was there again. Ground hog, I concluded. I called the trapper and he set a trap on either side of the hole. No success. I filled in the hole again and put wire fencing on the ground over the area.

Having learned previously what ground hogs like, I planted our greens (collards, kale and some Asian greens) along with parsley, peas and pole beans inside a fenced area. The ground hog was still seen in the yard outside the fence. I believed my greens, etc., were relatively safe although I knew that ground hogs could dig under fences. This fencing only extended a few  inches below soil level. The fencing was three foot rabbit fencing.
Dinosaur Kale

I haven't studied ground hog psychology but it seems to me that it didn't attack my garden until I ticked it off by adding wire fencing around the bottom of one side of the wooden fencing that runs around our back yard. As soon as I did this the ground hog (or hogs as the case seems to be) went under or over my fence and laid waste to the kale, collards, and parsley and started on the beans and peas. The dinosaur kale, seen here, was wiped out because not only the leaves but the growing centers were eaten. This was not true of the white Russian kale (below) either because they didn't find that so tasty or were interrupted before they could clean that out.
White Russian Kale
Not only were some of the leaves left but the plants have their growing points intact.
The parsley was also chewed down but looks like it too will grow back.

I had two trellises of pole beans. I put a circle of fencing around one of the trellises. Next morning the beans that were not protected were eaten.

In the fenced area I have a wooden frame with screen covers. The purpose was to grow Asian greens inside protected from flea beetles. One of the two screens had been pushed aside and a few of the greens eaten.

It is hard to explain how annoying/irritating/depressing it is to find plants that were growing nicely and producing daily meals of greens devastated overnight. I just felt helpless. There is a fence around the yard. There is a fenced in garden area. I was working on making the wooden fence more secure. I was outwitted by a fat little (at 10 pounds probably not so little) rodent. And it didn't even share nicely.

Another loss in the fenced-in garden was some of the soybeans. They had been recently planted and were just emerging and were under the rectangle of hardware cloth that is seen in this photo. The covering was not nailed down and the groundhog just pushed under the edge of it and ate about half of the seedlings.

 The groundhog(s) apparently entered the fenced area from the path to the right as there were three or four places where the soil had been moved and there were also bits of fur on the path, perhaps from a hasty retreat when I saw them and came screaming into the back yard. I wanted more than just fur!

No comments:

Post a Comment