Dealing With Groundhogs in the Garden

| 12/14/2016 12:32:00 PM

Three or four summers ago, I had a garden pest problem. At first, I noticed nibbles on some plants, most notably spinach and broccoli. My former naive self thought it was possibly aggressive insects. A day later, a few plants were stripped and others were just gone.

I instinctively knew something bigger was devouring my vegetables, but I had no proof. Maybe a deer had jumped the 5-foot fence? The movement I witnessed in my garden the following day revealed the answer. My new friend Woody the Groundhog, also known as Woodchuck, was digging under the fence to gobble up my veggie buffet. (By the way, here’s my list of what groundhogs love to eat).


Here's where I started to get a clue.

By this time in my gardening “career," growing food was my path to self-reliance. I consider myself a modern homesteader (as much as one can homestead on a .91 acre rented property). Not a Little House on the Prairie homesteader mind you, but more of a “growing food is printing money” one. My garden was (and still is) an intricate part of my life and soul. Anything that threatens it is in for heap of trouble (just ask my neighbors). The feeling of helplessness and loss experienced when critters are eating your garden is like no other.

I knew I had to stop the chlorophyll bleeding, so I decided to do something about it. I purchased a box trap at the local farm supply store and placed it inside my garden fencing. Life has taught me to be careful what you wish for. While I wanted to remove my newly sworn enemy, capturing other yard interlopers (like raccoons, opossums, or God forbid, skunks) wasn’t in the plans. Several days later, after more losses (this buck-toothed menace pulled down half my corn stalks), I had my groundhog.

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