Last year, the garden was a battleground. Me against the deer, me against the hornworms, but mainly, me against the gopher.
At first I thought it was really cute that we had a gopher in the yard. I’d be standing outside talking with our neighbor, and look down to see the grass bobbing up and down as the little guy chewed his way under the dirt. I never saw him but I imagined that he looked like a friendly little brown rabbit, or maybe a furry squirrel that was living with his family under the lawn. I was ok with a little garden pet sharing our space.
Then I started getting sprains on all the ankle-traps he was digging, and then one day he popped his mangy little head out of one of the pits, and I realized that this wasn’t the sweet little forest creature I had been picturing. I saw those huge yellow front teeth, and his ratty eyes, and then he started eating my lovingly tended garden plants.
Above is a little diagram of 15 minutes in the garden last summer. At 10:05, I noticed that the tomato plant was half-height. I went inside to call Hubbs to complain about the gopher – 10 minutes later, the tomato was entirely gone.
He ended up taking out 3 tomato plants before we finally caught him. Some of the plants, he didn’t even eat. He just killed and left there to taunt me. Believe me I was a happy camper when we finally got him.
So this year, I’m trying to be proactive. As I dug the hole to plant the tomato seedlings, I lined the bottom with chicken wire. Will this help? I don’t know. Maybe the gophers and their nasty little rat teeth can bite through chicken wire. Maybe it will rust away before the gophers even move back. But at least I feel like I’m giving the tomatoes a fighting chance. At least I feel like I’m doing something.
But this summer, the minute I see the first sign of a gopher, the trap is coming out. This year, the battle goes to me.