Years ago, it was a rare day I saw a groundhog. Now, they seem to be thriving everywhere I go. These animals are beautiful, but very destructive to gardens. The groundhog who tears mine apart has a penchant for devouring my cruciferous vegetables.
This is the kohlrabi I posted about on June 27th. It has been ravaged by the front incisors of our local groundhog. The kohlrabi itself is still intact, but I am having a few qualms over eating it after the obvious close encounter with a wild animal’s mouth and saliva. Hmmm…washing thoroughly works, but will I be able to eat it and enjoy it?
I know it is almost impossible to protect some vegetables from this hungry groundhog, but today I’ve put a few barriers in place I hope will help. As a start, I’ve unwound a dollar store bath puff. Did you know these are a long tube of nylon gathered together? Unwound, they have many uses.
I snipped the tube into small lengths and placed these over my ripening tomatoes for protection. The elasticity will keep it in place, and the leftover scent from soap will also be a good deterrent. Squirrels are very fond of taking one bite of my tomatoes and moving along to the next one, and to the next one, and then to the next. Argghhhh!
Another idea for newly emerging bean sprouts is a few branches of vitex laid across the ground. The sprouts make their way through the twigs, but the strong scent of the vitex, and the sharp edges, will hopefully keep hungry critters away until the beans are big enough to set fruit. At that time I will have to find another solution, but at least for now the branches give me a little time for planning. I love gardening, but sometimes it can be frustrating!
In the comment section Alli Farkus added such a great idea for keeping groundhogs out of the garden, I knew I must add it to the original post. Thanks Alli!
There’s only one (labor intensive) way to stop groundhogs. Their digging abilities make rabbits look like pikers, and they also have pretty good climbing ability. My guy and I spent three summers (working intermittently) putting up a 5′ high barrier of 4 x 4 posts and horse fence. Along the bottom of it I dug a trench and put rabbit fence from about 1 1/2 feet above ground to 1 1/2 feet below ground and then bent it into an L shape at the bottom to extend away about a foot from the fenceline and thwart digging. Along the top rail of the fence I installed wire and an electric fence charger. The critters still dig burrows all over the place, but I have never had one get into the garden since the fence was completed. Along the top of each of the five raised beds I also run the electric wire. It teaches the squirrels to stay out, and by the time the plants get so big they ground out the wire the invaders have already been “trained” to stay away. Lots of initial work, but pretty much zero frustration. Now if only I could solve the destruction of the cruciferous crops…
~ Alli Farkus