Garden Update-The War Rages On

by formerchef on May 17, 2010

Post image for Garden Update-The War Rages On
They are trying to dig to China, my garden monsters.
Every night they dig, dig, dig, tunneling under the garden beds in search of literal pay-dirt. My garden pathways, once lined with pristine pea gravel, are now a mix of dirt and gravel, messy and ripe for growing weeds. Our efforts to keep them out by shoring up the bottoms of the beds with more wood have been met with a redoubled digging effort.
But one morning last week may have been the last straw.

The day before, frustrated and angry that I had to keep pushing the dirt back into place, I put large pieces of concrete and scrap wood topped with brick, on the ground around their favorite digging spots. An inelegant solution to be sure, but I wanted to see if it would stop them.
Yes and no.
When I stepped out onto my back patio the following morning I was met with a calling card. Raccoon scat. Or skunk poop. Yes, I’m sure, just not sure which animal. I’m leaning toward raccoon because they seem smarter and more vindictive to me than skunks. Ok, I may be anthropomorphizing, but really?
There it was, a small pile of poop right there on the concrete right outside the back door. No self respecting cat would have done that and it was too small to be a dog. Better that than a horse’s head in my bed I suppose. I am telling you, my friends, this was a pissed off and frustrated raccoon telling us just how he felt.
Good.
Now he knows how I feel.

Expense Update: What price the joy of a home grown vegetables?
Ongoing total for Summer 2010:
$318
(added $20 for new plants)
Tomato: Green Zebra (heirloom)
Tomato: Viva Italia Roma (determinate)
Tomato: Lemon Boy (indeterminate)
Tomato: Champion (VFNT)
2 bell peppers (red and yellow)
seed packets: beets, arugula

The lemon cucumbers and leeks I planted from seed all died. Waaah! The basil seedlings are still here, but struggling. I don’t seem to have great luck with seeds.
I also spent $57 to buy 50’x5′ steel concrete mesh. What for, you ask? To build tomato cages. I’m not including the cost in the total for this summer because these cages should last over a decade. I’ll cover the building of these cages (visible in the photo below) in a later post.
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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Arunah May 17, 2010 at 9:45 am

I know it’s not politically correct and not very nice… but… have you ever thought of using… err… poison ? Of course you’d have to keep your pets inside during the fatal night.

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2 formerchef May 17, 2010 at 9:51 am

Simply, no. I could never do that. As much as they drive me crazy I would be devastated to find little dead bodies in my garden. Plus it would be too dangerous to other neighborhood animals.

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3 Vivian May 17, 2010 at 11:05 am

You go get em girl! You have more patience and tolerance than I do :-) I hope this resolves it for you. I found a gopher hole last season and lost a couple of plants. They had plenty of other gardens to dig in so mine was just an occasional haunt. I was frustrated with the holes but lucked out. This week I found a dead gopher in my front yard. Happy that it’s not going to dig, but really wondering what took care of it now, and wondering whether or not that creature will be worse. God I hope it just a cat :)

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4 Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen May 17, 2010 at 3:26 pm

I am not sure if you covered this already – but we just built our raised beds, and stapled chicken netting to the bottoms of them. Maybe you could try that? Maybe you already did . If so, sorry.

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5 formerchef May 17, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Great minds must think alike. I just wish I’d thought of it before I put in all the new fill for this year, LOL! Next year I will probably line the bottom of the beds with chicken wire, but they were already filled and planted this year by the time I’d figured out what I should have done.

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6 Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen May 19, 2010 at 9:57 am

I think it will work! I will let you know if it works for us. I know we have at least one resident groundhog (he lives under our front porch and is named Wilbert…). So we’ll see if the theory performs!

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7 Tiffany May 17, 2010 at 5:21 pm

You have declared war! I half expect to see turrets and sharpened branches jutting from the ground next week.
Raccoon. Raccoons are vicious, intelligent, and jerky. And you’d be able to smell it if a skunk had ambled by your door. Bleck! We kept catching raccoons in our ground squirrel traps (the ground squirrels were eating the strawberries), the biggest was probably 30 pounds and ORNERY!
I wish you good luck in your endeavors.
http://www.ehow.com/way_5393774_homemade-raccoon-repellent.html

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8 Angela@spinachtiger May 17, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I think I like Jenn’s idea of the chicken netting.

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9 crimelord May 18, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I think I have a solution. Contact Hank Shaw at the blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. He may be able to help you with those tasty racoons.

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10 HankShaw May 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Heh. Actually, I have never killed and eaten a racoon. But there’s always a first time, and I know how to cook them, too. I’ll be right over… ;-)

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11 formerchef May 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Hank, they are really so adorable I don’t know if I could do it. On the other hand, if you were cooking, I might have to make an exception….

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