Well, that just about says it all- except that it is really Gophers. When Eduard and I returned from Oregon, we had May, June, and July gloom to keep the garden in stasis, but we also had a gopher attack. Gopher(s) got into the raised beds- which I had not lined with wire mesh because we had never had gophers. But now we do and they are terrorizing my garden. In some ways, the tunneling and churning of the soil is good, but the eating of the roots and plants is bad. So we have launched a gopher control program.
First thing in the program was to try to trap them. Failure, dismal failure. This must be a second or third generation intelligent gopher because the traps mean nothing to it. Just covers it with dirt until it snaps, then goes around it.
So in desperation we transferred all the edible plants to an unaffected bed to see what the gopher would do next. There are plenty of weeds and grasses in other areas of the yard, so the gopher just went into another area to wait for something good to eat. Between the weather being cold for a long time and the gopher hovering under the possible vegetables, I decided not to plant anything at all. But this is just too depressing for me.
The next idea was to remove all the dirt from the beds and line them with wire like we should have in the first place. And this we have been doing. Bed one got finished one week ago, and planted with potatoes, beans, onions, garlic, and other small things. It is doing very well. The turning of the soil, with a bit of amendment and fertilizer has made it the wonderful dirt that I loved when it was new. And I am excited to have Chinese long beans climbing up my bean tower. They are the red ones and will make lovely stir fry.
The second bed got finished yesterday. It had some onions left in it, but I haven't had time yet to plant. It needs some amendment and fertilizer before I replant the onions and start the next set of plants. I am hoping for a short season pumpkin, kabocha, and some cucumbers. If we get any warm weather at all, it will be between now and November, so I am attempting some seeds that are from short season areas. Russian melons. New England pumpkin. And a Japanese Cucumber and squash. It is possible that the nights will stay dry enough that the mildew will hold off. But if not, at least I have tried.
Bed three has been dug out, but not lined with wire. That will happen over the next week and the dirt will be returned to the bed next weekend (or sooner). In the meantime, the gopher burrowed over to the herb garden that is near the patio. Must be the same guy, because the traps are useless. But I am hopeful that we will be able to corner the bugger and flush him/her out.
I hate to resort to poison, because gopher is low on the food chain and will kill the birds of prey that eat it. I am not really too concerned about the coyote who also eat gopher, rat, squirrel, rabbit, cat, dog, small children, and garbage because they are not endangered and drink the beer that I put out to kill the slugs and snails. They can eat all the poisoned rats they want.
In the meantime, I am sorting through my seeds and giggling like a child at the thought of having some vegetables again. I needed this moment in the dirt to make me feel alive.