Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Battle Of The Brassicas: KK vs. The Damn Groundhog

Last year when I was in Florida with bestie Florida, a groundhog started coming into our community garden.  From there it would daily make it's way into my little plot and it completely demolished every last brassica plant.  Every beautiful broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, Swiss chard, and kale plant met it's fate to the damn groundhog.

When I got back, most plants were beyond repair but I thought I could salvage a few as kale especially grows back.  I tried to stuff, block, and mend the holes under my fencing but the beast just kept coming in.  I ran into it several times and no matter what I tried, I lost all of my plants.  

This year, the beast is not waiting until mid July to start the garden buffet.  It's been battling a few gardeners for a few weeks and so far, it's winning.  Two gardeners, on either side of me, have lost all of their brassicas and lettuce greens already.  And this little crocodile is not mincing words.  It's a war and I am going to win it this year!

For starters, in the spring, the big project I did with my father was to dig up the entire perimeter of my garden plot and bury chicken wire fencing.  So every part of my perimeter has that added to it, minus the two entrance gates where I wasn't able to add it if I wanted to avoid daily tripping.  I have also grown all of my brassicas, which seem to be the woodchuck's favorite, in the very center of my garden.  While I am sure it can still smell them, I choose to believe that being away from all the edges of my plot is helping.  I also interplanted onions between all of the broccoli, etc as critters dislike onions and garlic.

But seeing the daily damage being done despite me daily filling the critter holes into the garden has had me worried.  The last straw happened a few days ago when I was bent over weeding.  I heard a noise just outside the garden fence so I stood up to get a better look.  I don't know who was more in shock to find that I was eye to eye with the groundhog who was five feet up on the six foot chain link fence!  

When I was left with one nub of a kale plant last year, I took an old onion bag, you know the netting stuff that you buy onions in or that also comes wrapped around a Thanksgiving turkey. And put it over the kale.  Sadly it was too late for the plant to do much at that point, but it did keep the critter out.  So I took that and came up with a new plan.  I bought about 20 yards of tulle, you know the stuff one uses to make a ballet tutu, and sewed up little bags to put over the top of each brassica plant.  I've tied them each with a little satin bow {because hello...cute points always count!}, but I can certainly untie them to adjust for more room as the plants grow taller.  

So far so good for what I've taken to calling my broccoli brides!  The added bonus is that it should also help keep the cabbage white flies at bay too!

I have no idea if this will really work in the long run.  But my plants are looking so beautiful and healthy this year and I am just not in the mood to lose them all again to a dumb woodchuck.  It was worth a try!

Have you ever had woodchuck or other critter problems in your garden?  What did you do to solve the problem?

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