Grit Blogs > A Long Time Coming

Groundhogs in the Garden

A photo of Shannon SaiaI wrote in my last post that I was currently harvesting broccoli, radishes, kale and salad greens. Within twenty-four hours I had received Nature’s red-line of my work, so I now feel compelled to post my revision:

Now serving a smorgasbord of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, and the odd beet green to at least one – and possibly multiple – hungry groundhogs.

Witness the evidence:

cabbage groundhog damage 

cauliflower damaged by groundhog 

kohlrabi eaten by groundhogs 

The knowledgeable gentleman at the nursery assured me that they will eat just about everything in the garden. However, based on what they ate from me, I believe at this point they have a preference for brassicas. The thief crossed the garden past potatoes, salad greens, beans, sweet potatoes and peppers specifically to eat the single small cabbage plant in my daughter’s section of the garden which was six rows away from mine.

Actually, I wasn’t as upset about this as I might have supposed that I would be. I mean, for one thing, it’s my own stupid fault for having left my garden gate open. And for another thing, this happened not even two weeks into May. I was able to go to my favorite private nursery and buy big, beautiful replacement transplants – cabbage and cauliflower – for next to nothing. And for another thing, I don’t know, I just feel a lot more relaxed and go-with-the-flow-of-it-all this year than in previous gardening seasons. And of course, there’s the inspiration of recently-read literature:

Early in the new time he had learned the most important thing, the truly vital knowledge that drives all creatures in the forest – food is all. Food was simply everything. All things in the woods, from insects to fish to bears, were always, always looking for food – it was the great, single driving influence in nature. To eat. All must eat.

And this:

Patience, he thought. So much of this was patience – waiting and thinking and doing things right. So much of all this, so much of all living was patience and thinking.

So – thank you Gary Paulsen and Hatchet for giving me a place from which to maintain my cool this week.

We bought two live traps and placed one at the opening of the slightly cracked garden gate, and one at the hole under our fence at the back edge of the yard from which we suspect he/she/they are coming and going. Thankfully, they don’t seem to be living under our shed like they did last year. We haven’t caught anything yet, but then there’s been no more obvious evidence that they’ve been back in the garden after those three days in a row either. I’m waiting until I have a few ground-hog free days before I set the new cabbages and cauliflowers in.