Sunday, August 26, 2012

Groundhog Day All Over Again . . .

Speaking of pests in the garden, we have another new arrival this summer - a groundhog. Some weeks back, I went out to the garden to harvest some squash, only to find our Swiss chard looking like a lawn mower had run it over. It was eaten to the ground. Upon further inspection, the collards looked pretty pitiful too, chewed down to the stems. My first thought was deer. Granted, we live in a suburban neighborhood, but we are bordered by a large golf course, and patches of woods. I have seen deer within a block of our house, so I figured it's only a matter of time.
The next day, the squash itself was untouched, but their leaves were definitely nibbled upon. And the cherry tomatoes had been smacked around, dropping some to the ground, little teethmarks as evidence. This was no deer.
By the third day, Bill was keeping a lookout (with camera in-hand) to see if anything ventured out during the day. AHA! It didn't take long. In bright daylight, there he was. I answered the phone at work; it was Bill. "We have a beaver!" he excitedly tells me. There is a road about a mile away called Beaver Dam Road, so it is a possibility, I thought. "Look at his tail - is it furry or flat?" I tell  him. He tells me it's hard to tell, but he's got photographic evidence.
Only The Tomato Plants Are Hanging On . . .
That night, we review the picture, consult with a friend, and still can't ascertain for sure if it's a beaver or a groundhog. Whatever it is, it's HUGE. Further sightings over the next few days make us pretty certain it is a groundhog. A very happy groundhog, cavorting in the backyard at all hours, no doubt rejoicing at the all-you-can-eat-buffet he has stumbled upon. He's really cute, you know, so it's hard to hold a grudge. We tried fox urine granules, supposedly a sure-fire way to deter them. It appeared he never met a fox he didn't like, because he was back the very next day, chomping away. Only our appearance coming out the door deters him; he scampers away to wherever it is he lives and awaits his next chance to dine.
 Now a few weeks later, the squash is gone, the kale gone, the cucumber vines died as a result of his indiscriminate digging. Only the tomatoes are hanging in there.
Looks like a fence (complete with chicken wire and sunk into the ground) is on the drawing board for next year's garden project. I suppose we're lucky; we made it four years without any major pest damage. Hopefully we won't be re-living groundhog day again next summer.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear your hard work in your veggie garden was lost. ....but, I laughed out loud so hard I had tears running down my face at the humor in your story. I'm pathetic, I know. Maybe it will be funnier for you next year after you groundhog proof the garden?

    Sorry for your loss ...great story!