Gophers in the Garden

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Ignore the sweet face!

If you grow vegetables in the western U.S. then there is a very good chance are you are well acquainted with the Pocket Gopher, a creature that makes the average person say “ahhh” and the gardener say… well, I can’t say that here. A much smaller version of the Woodchuck, (Yikes!!!), found in the eastern U.S., the Pocket Gopher none the less wreaks havoc in your garden. If you want to get things in chronological order, you can jump over now and read about my earlier battles with this cute little devil of a pest at this link: How to Trap Gophers.  Then return here for a couple of posts summarizing this year’s battle.

First, here is a little background on how gophers came to be such a pest in my garden.  I have gardened here for 15 years.  For the first 10 of those years, we were bordered by a small commercial farmer growing vegetables for their farm stand.  Because they had 21 well irrigated acres and I had less than 2, the gophers seemed content to stay out of my garden, instead maintaining house and hearth in the farmer’s fields.  Five years ago, before the real estate market went belly up, this farmer decided they wanted to develop their land for housing.  Because a requirement of doing this is either they prove the land is not suitable for farming or that they have not farmed it for at least 3 years.  Because the land is very suitable for farming, they knew they would lose the first argument so they chose to stop farming in the hope that after 3 years they would be allowed to develop it.

What happened is that once their 21 acres was left to dry up each summer, the only irrigated land for the gophers is my garden.  Guess where some of the gophers decided to move to?  Anyway it has been an ongoing battle trying to grow vegetables without suffering huge losses from the gopher’s burrows and appetites.  In my next post I will detail some of the frustrations and recent successes I have had in this war with the little vermin.  I don’t use poisons, so I’ll have photos of the various traps I have tried, including the latest and greatest trap which saved, (I hope in time), this year’s zucchini crop.

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Will Sig
1 Steve

hi Will,
I’ll look forward to your post on what has worked… I hope I can learn from you.
I got a gopher out front a few weeks ago, but I’ve given up on the one (or ones) out back and just clean up the mounds in the lawn… until they get too close to the garden.
Fingers crossed for your zucchini. We’ve been enjoying some really good bbq’ed zucchs lately, and the tomatoes are just starting to kick in.
Steve
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2 Will

Hi Steve. The post is almost done. Just needs a few photos. Been so busy with other stuff like behind the scenes work getting our local co-op open that I have not been doing much else on line. We are almost there though. Follow the link in the sidebar under “Site Sponsors” to see where we are with fundraising. Sooo close!

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3 Tony McGurk

But they sure are cute critters

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4 Tony

But they sure are cute critters

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5 Tim

When is the post going to be ready? Don’t mean to be impatient but the gophers are destroying my CA garden and dynamite is not an option for me. Too many close neighbors! 😉

Seriously I really need to know what works for you. Thank you.

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6 Will

OK Tim – I feel your pain, I really do. I promise to take the last photo I need tomorrow and then publish my secrets. No explosives needed at all so please hold off until then!

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7 Tony McGurk

Hi Will. I have a veggie garden but we don’t have Gophers, thankfully, as it would be hard to eradicate such cute critters. I think Dixie would just have to “Hound” them out.
[Insert fox hunting trumpet blast here] “Release the Poodles!!!”

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8 Tony

Hi Will. I have a veggie garden but we don’t have Gophers, thankfully, as it would be hard to eradicate such cute critters. I think Dixie would just have to “Hound” them out.
[Insert fox hunting trumpet blast here] “Release the Poodles!!!”

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9 Will

OK Tim, Steve, and anyone else who has been waiting for the secret, the post is up. Please feel free to Digg, Stumble, Tweet, share on Facebook, or anything else that will help other gardeners with the same problem. Thanks!

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10 Anna

lol I wanted to say how can you eliminated that sweet thing, until I read your image description, lol. Anna 🙂
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11 Hen Party

I got a gopher out front a few weeks ago, but I’ve given up on the one (or ones) out back and just clean up the mounds in the lawn… until they get too close to the garden.Thanks for sharing this blog with us.

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