My Garden And Its Nemesis

groundhog tomatoesWe are in the 4th year of tending to a vegetable garden in our back yard. I’m still a gardening novice, but I’m always learning to do better and over the years I’ve been able to get some good crops of the various easy to grow varieties of vegetables, herbs and fruits. In years past, I’ve had some awesome tomatoes, endless zucchini, numerous varieties of peppers, some squashes and then my herbs are always flourishing.

I have my routine down of  regular garden watering and harvesting, pulling weeds, and picking my various ripe zucchinis and peppers. In recent weeks, I’ve been lamented my “fallen soldiers”, otherwise known as my broccoli plants and all my lettuce that something had quite obviously got to and eaten them down to the nub. Then I took inventory of almost a dozen green tomatoes just about ready to ripen and turn red and my thoughts turned to my homemade  salsa, fresh caprese  salads, and hopes of homemade tomato sauces to put in my freezer. There is nothing more tasty and flavorful than tomatoes from your own garden. It is one of my favorite things to have in the summer.

Imagine my surprise when I go down to water one morning, finding all those tomatoes that should have been ripe and ready to pick, completely gone, with a few remnants on the ground of fallen tomatoes that someone had made a meal out of. I still had a few more green ones on the vine so I was ok with the temporary set back. Until yesterday, when I caught the culprit red handed and found almost a dozen more tomatoes gone (many of them were still green). Now I’m pissed.

No, not cute. They're pests.

No, not cute. They’re pests.

Who is it, you ask?  Oh I know exactly who it is, as I’ve had to chase him out of my garden more than a few times. He is a groundhog (at least I think it’s a “he”), and he has got to go. Not only has he taken all my tomatoes (except for a few grape tomatoes), he is the same one that has feasted on all my broccoli plants, and all my lettuce, spinach, and peas. He has got to go.

So now I need to find ways to either repel the groundhog or humane ways to get rid of him.  I’m not into personally handling wild animals, so the trap and release many miles away thing is out. I guess the next most logical things is to put up little fencing round my garden boxes that are Groundhog proof. What a pain.

I would love to know what other gardeners do to get rid of groundhogs or other wild animal pests. Wish there was some sort of plant or material that would just naturally repel them. I’ve dealt with squash bugs, hornworm, and other pests and know keep them under wraps. But to keep this wild pest out of my yard, it might take putting up a new solid fence around our yard, which is not exactly in the budget right now. 🙁

sad tomato

My one sad tomato

Oh well. I have one sad little tomato that I have managed to salvage so far. As you can see (pictured left) it is really ugly and sad looking. Just keeping my fingers crossed that I can save a few more and make the homemade salsa I have been intensely craving. I might have to settle for some store-bought ones, and it is just not the same.

 

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