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A Call to Arms

May 25th, 2010

On Friday I spotted a baby groundhog in the garden. It startled me and I startled it. It ran down into the woods and got me thinking about protecting my crops from the groundhogs. I have everything protected with floating row covers, but groundhogs are crafty creatures and they’ll gnaw through anything to get at their favorite crops, in this case my peas that are just about to bloom!

I went out later in the day and spotted FOUR baby groundhogs in the garden. They are cuties, but not cute enough to let them mow down everything in the back garden. I knew then that we’d have to do something besides hope that they wouldn’t eat all of our crops. Every hour or so for the last 2 days I went out and scared them out of the garden area. Yesterday since we were at the cabin all day I couldn’t scare them away and they gnawed through my row cover in several places and ate all of the peas. This was a call to arms.

I uploaded some photos of the groundhogs to Flickr and someone asked if I knew of any “non-chemical deterrents” for goundhogs. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I come from a long line of hunters, I even had my hunting license in the 7th grade. So you can guess what our “non chemical deterrent” is. Yesterday I went out in the morning and spotted one of them in the peas again, I went inside to get the “deterrent” but by the time I went back out it was gone. So Mr Chiots and I headed down into the woods to look for it’s den. We’re going to put used cat liter down in the hole, which will often drive them away. Hopefully by the end of the week the groundhogs will be gone. Too late to save the peas, but at least they’ll be a good cover crop and I’ll replace them with cucumbers and zucchini.

Do you have problems with groundhogs in your garden? How have you dealt with them?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.