Rotten Rodents

Gopher

Gopher Getting a Hug from the Black Box

I hate gophers. They burrow and tunnel and leave little mounds all over the place. That’s not the reason I hate them though. I hate gophers because they like to eat the plants’ roots in the garden. If they left my things alone, say like moles, then fine, they could stay. But they don’t play nice with my garden.

Mid-winter I lost a mature artichoke plant. That was tough to swallow, (pun intended) but harder still was over the past two weeks, as the remaining two artichoke plants were in full production, the gopher struck again, and again, getting both plants. It was an awful feeling to walk out to the garden after work and see a drooping plant laying on its side. Damn gophers!

Last summer the gopher fed on a few chard plants, some beets and a couple of Hollyhock plants. It wasn’t a big loss cause there was so much of each. The artichokes are different. Three plants, perennials, and all are gone. I’ve replanted in a slightly different area, but it’ll be next year before they begin producing. So in the meantime, it’s war. I completely understand how caddyshackSandy McFiddish felt.

gopher trap

Black Box Gopher Death Device

There’s are many gopher eradication methods out there. Traps are the least expensive, but there is poison too. People try to flood them or smoke them out, hook up car exhaust pipes to gas them, even repel them with little whirlygig things that are supposed to vibrate. In reading about them online, my favorite, at least the one that appealed to the vengeance seeking gardener in me, was the Rodenator. It’s a device that mixes air and propane in a highly combustible ratio, pumps the burrows full of the gas, and then ignites it. What seems cool is that the Rodenator blows the little fuckers up! Unfortunately for the pyromaniac, firecracker loving boy in me, the Rodenator costs well over $1000. I could buy plenty of artichokes for that. I’ve tried three types of traps and I’m gopher probeliking the black box type. It’s responsible for my most recent success. Last weekend I made a probe to find their burrows and runs. It’s a metal rod with a dowel for a handle. It slides into the earth easily and when I hit a tunnel it drops a few inches quickly.

I expect that gophers are going to be a regular part of gardening here at the Peach House. We live right near the railroad tracks, which is riddled with gopher holes, so if I want to have a garden, I’d better get good at trapping gophers, and I’m working on it!

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One Response to “Rotten Rodents”

  1. Jeff Bague Says:

    I’ve got voles, those little fuckers are worse because they never come up. The only way you know is when your formerly beautiful bell pepper falls over because all its roots are gone! My only ally is our cat Loki, the gray shadow of death….

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