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anthonysong

Clueless as to what is destroying my vegetables please help!

anthonysong
4 years ago

Hello everyone and thank you so much in advance for reading this. I really don't have much area in my backyard to farm and I have been trying to grow the vegetables I have organically and there is something inside my garden that is destroying my vegetables. It seems every other day I come out to my backyard and crawl into my covered raised bed (secured the bed with plastic and pvc pipes so you're able to walk inside) one or more of my vegetables have been gnawed off. The A-Choy whatever it is would just gnaw off the bottom stem and leave the rest cut off while the kale they would devour everything. I do not see any holes in the soil and I have no clue how they are getting in. Please any help would be great... I hate how they wait until the vegetables are almost full grown before destroying them! Its so sad and frustrating...


Comments (35)

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    4 years ago

    Pretty trivial for a rodent to wriggle under a cover anchored with PVC pipes. I'd set out a trap.

  • dirt_tracker Alabama Zone 8A
    4 years ago

    Can you post a picture of your covered bed...include a few close-ups of the lower perimeter, especially any areas you "think" might be your weakest points? Squirrels, rats, etc., can get through holes you think nothing can get through. Hopefully there is only a couple of rodents involved...trapping would be my suggestion, too.

    Post some pictures.

    Best wishes, Ed

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  • glib
    4 years ago

    it is a ground hog. Use a havahart trap baited with melon rind, and either kill it or take it at least 5 miles away.

  • wolverine1012
    4 years ago

    Don't trap, for several reasons, an animal unless you intend to euthanize it :

    1. That animal will never go in a trap again.

    2. Don't make your problem somebody else's.

    3. It really is unfair to the animal. Your chosen spot for relocation may already be the territory of another. The trapped animal will be unfamiliar with the new home, food supply, and predators.

    4. It may be illegal. Check your state's laws on dealing with nuisance animals. Some states prohibit relocation.

  • anthonysong
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Thank you everyone for your input and I apologize for getting back to you so late. I tried to block off any gaps by laying pieces of wood along the sides of the plastic. I should really check to see if there are any gaps that look like it may be where they are coming in from. I don't have any close ups, but I have these photos on my phone. I'll take some close ups tomorrow thanks everyone! Picture inside was from awhile back and sorry I don't know why the pictures are coming in sideways~



  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    4 years ago

    Re traps, I have to say that one has to be realistic. It is true that a trapped and relocated animal generally has a low probablility of survival. But the probablility of survival is enhanced if the relocation site is similar to the site of origin. That is, if I trap a squirrel in a riparian area, I relocate it to a riparian area. The probability of survival is also enhanced if done with some consideration of seasons. Probably not smart to relocate, at the end of a summer, an animal that stores food for a hard winter. But if we're talking about "euthanizing" instead of relocating, what's the difference? The latter offers at least a chance of survival.

    That being said, many of us simply don't have other options. Where I live, squirrels are protected. You can't kill them. Period. Trapping and relocating is the only solution. You can't release them on private property without permission. Plenty of public property on which to do so, however. Maybe if you have a pet animal that will kill them, like an outdoor canine or a raptor, they can't be prosecuted for doing so. I don't have such an animal.

    I will not put out poison, because there are, in my locale, (unfortunately not enough) natural predators. That poison will kill those natural predators. Poison is really bad.

    That animal will never go in a trap again? Doubtful. A particular target animal will often successfully raid my trap, trip it, and manage to get out, several times, before I can nab it.

    But it's certainly true that you should consult local regulations about your options.

  • Jean
    4 years ago

    relocation is illegal in many areas/regions/states.It is in Oregon. Here, if you trap an animal -- only those on the official list -- you must euthanize. they suggest drowning.

    Other places, such as Washington state, trapping is illegal for many wildings.

    A relocated animal may die of starvation or disease; be killed by current residents; and could introduce a new disease into a new area.


  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Here in Texas, relocation is legal. No, it's not particularly humane. You relocate rodents 2 miles away, to ensure that they won't return. No danger of introducing new diseases 2 miles away. But yes, relocation is, in many cases, essentially the equivalent of killing them, and you must pay attention to local regulations. (I like the word "euthanize", which avoids nasty words like "killing" or "executing".)

    One argument against relocation is that, well, more will just come in to replace them! As if that won't happen if you euthanize. In fact, I've learned, partly in practice, that if you remove squirrels, they won't repopulate until the next season. Get rid of 'em early, and you'll enjoy summer gardening without them.

    As noted, it's important to pay attention to local regulations.

  • dirt_tracker Alabama Zone 8A
    4 years ago

    This is an interesting article regarding relocating squirrels. You might want to re-think that 2-mile radius for releasing them... http://unexco.com/popups/release.html

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    That's an interesting reference. Thanks. The 2-mile recommendation is a popularly assumed distance, but I've never seen any real test of it. My own experience is that when I relocate squirrels to a 2-mile distance, the number around me decreases conspicuously for a long time. If they make it back, they don't do it fast. As I said, my experience is that recolonization is seasonal. My locale WILL get recolonized in the spring. Whether the recolonization is by new squirrel immigrants or ones that I relocated doesn't make any difference. My job next spring will be precisely the same in either case. The job is about reducing the number of squirrels for a given growing season.

    This reference does suggest that locally relocated squirrels don't suffer horrible deaths due to lack of food or competition.

  • dirt_tracker Alabama Zone 8A
    4 years ago

    Hmm, I don't really get the impression that "This reference does suggest that locally relocated squirrels don't suffer horrible deaths due to lack of food or competition."

    The article instead seems to suggest that hardship is put upon the relocated squirrels..."We never saw one of our painted squirrels dead, but I suspect a good many of the missing perished, especially seeing as how the ones that did come back were mostly pretty ragged-looking."

  • gumby_ct
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I seriously doubt the problem anthonysong is asking about has anything to do with a squirrel or relocating a squirrel.

    Without knowing where anthonysong is located, IMO you have a groundhog who is squeezing in (or under) for a buffet. Take a look around your area for a fairly large hole in the ground where this guy or family is living. Just hope they don't have a hole right in this little buffet tent, so look inside also .

    Do some more reading/research on this topic to get more ideas. There is a lot of info on the gardenweb and on the internet.

    IMO an animal who steals the bait from a trap and escapes does not have the same fond memories of the trap as any which were successfully trapped and relocated.

    Two things you can try are

    1. predator urine if you don't know where the hole is- this worked 1yr for me but failed the next which lead me to smoke bombs

    2. smoke bombs are sold at places like Walmart, HD, Lowes, Garden Centers, etc.

    The smoke bombs create carbon monoxide and will "put to sleep" the whole family (so you will never have to trap, drown, or relocate) IF they are in the hole so be sure to do this close to or after sundown.

    There will normally be more than one hole so keep your eyes open for others. Each year you should keep eyes open for repopulation of the same hole or new ones nearby.

    Alright a 3rd - if you have a dog that can be helpful. But yea, if you don't do something about it woodchucks reproduce and can devour quite a bit.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    What I was referring to is that 80% of those relocated a few miles away came back. I too suspect that "a good many of the missing perished", but the point is that rather few were missing. I'd be surprised if more than 80% of a non-relocated squirrel population survives each year. Hence this reference does indeed suggest that locally relocated squirrels don't suffer horrible deaths due to lack of food or competition. OK, those that came back were "ragged looking".

    "I seriously doubt the problem anthonysong is asking about has anything to do with a squirrel or relocating a squirrel."

    Yep, but that's not the point. These threads tend to meander into different, but related topics and, if that bothers you, you're welcome to start a new thread. Apologies to anthonysong. We have at least one ongoing thread here that is a jumble of a zillion different topics. Not clear how constructive that is.

  • dirt_tracker Alabama Zone 8A
    4 years ago

    Yep, sorry to hijack your thread anthonysong. I think gumby_ct is giving you some good ideas. We don't have groundhogs down here in south Alabama, well, on rare occasion, but what I've heard they are tough cookies to deal with. Best wishes. Ed

  • anthonysong
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Thank you everyone for your input and please don't be sorry this was all very interesting to read. I went ahead and attached a long piece of wood around the entire perimeter so hopefully that will prevent anything from going in. I checked everywhere and there are no holes in the soil so the little guy hopefully is not inside. Crossing my fingers my vegetables will be there tomorrow. I live in Daly City, CA which is about a 10 minute drive from San Francisco. We don't have squirrels where I live so I'm thinking its mice. I'll try the advice from gumby_ct if problems still persist. Thank you again this website is great!

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    4 years ago

    Those are pretty big nibbles for a mouse. I think you're looking for a larger rodent. But yes, fencing extending down to ground level won't stop too many pests. They just slide underneath.

  • dirt_tracker Alabama Zone 8A
    4 years ago

    Rat? Gopher? Chipmunk? Chupacabra?

  • anthonysong
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    So whatever critter this guy is hes cutting my kale at the stem and pulling them into the soil. Any thoughts on how I can get this guy? I don't see any holes anywhere in my garden bed and its not a really large area so I know I didn't miss it. I'm so clueless on what to do I'm at a point where I'm just going to destroy what I have now and dig until I find this guy :( Everyday I come out and crawl into my greenhouse 2 full grown kale are gone this is so frustrating. Maybe a rabbit but how do I get to him not knowing where he is in the soil? So sad...


  • gumby_ct
    4 years ago

    Poke around that plant with a stick or a screwdriver, etc. looking for a tunnel void in that area - is there a tunnel?

  • anthonysong
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    I tried to do that, but my soil is so soft the stick glides into the soil so easily anywhere you poke it. I can use the pole to hit the concrete which is only about a foot deep with ease.

  • gumby_ct
    4 years ago

    Guess I missed the part about the concrete.

    IF something is pulling a plant down into the soil I have to suspect there is a tunnel leading up to the plants roots and you have some kind of tunneling animal to contend with.

  • dirt_tracker Alabama Zone 8A
    4 years ago

    With no mounds around I wouldn't think gophers, so... Norway rats?

  • dirt_tracker Alabama Zone 8A
    4 years ago

    A game/trail camera would come in real handy about now!!!!!

    Or maybe a small point-n-shoot canon camera loaded up with CHDK and a motion-detection utility...if you like to tinker. ;)

  • gumby_ct
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I've been using some Arlo wireless motion sense cameras together with some motion sensors from Harbor Freight. One is audible the other visual. Both are easy to move around to different areas.

    It's amazing what happens after sundown. Also was able to see it was the coons & possum moving the covering of the groundhogs hole. Only to also see that there are also field mice entering this hole.

    Then to learn I have 2 other GH's which have not been a problem in the garden makes me think they are gifts from someone who could bear to hurt them. They must be looking for a home.

    Then comes in the deer who has plenty to eat in the woods but prefers a gourmet buffet to wild weeds.

    All that to say it certainly helps IF you know which critter you have to compete with. It can make the diff between success and failure.

    The old saying is "Seeing is believing", right?

  • Donna R
    4 years ago

    daninthedirt...look up trapping nuisance animals in texas...it is legal, as it is in most states. You just can't profit from the fur if it's a desired pelt that trappers usually trap for. A nuisance animal is any animal that poses a threat to you or your animals, or your crops, and that includes home vegetable gardens.

  • Donna R
    4 years ago
  • lam702
    4 years ago

    Woodchuck maybe. They can destroy a garden pretty quickly. We finally, after 2 failed attempts at a veggie garden, put up a 6 foot fence. We still keep an eye out for digging along the fence, which woodchucks will do to get in there.

  • glib
    4 years ago

    I once relocated a ground hog 1.25 miles away at 8 in the morning. at 5pm he was back. I liked the spot because it was a triangle of grass at a freeway exit, so less likely to be occupied, but it was too close to home. Now I have fortified the fence and I have had no invasions in 2 years.

  • gumby_ct
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    <The link Donna posted says

    Landowners or their agents may take nuisance fur-bearing animals in any
    number by any means at any time on that person's land without the need
    for a hunting or trapping license.>

    That makes more sense than "Squirrels are protected where I live".

    What dan said was <daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a) In most urban areas, squirrels are protected by law. You can move 'em,
    but you can't kill 'em. If you could kill them, a gun, poison, or a
    body-trap would work adequately.>

    http://forums2.gardenweb.com/discussions/3939488/die-squirrels-die-how-to-kill-furry-little-pests-safely?n=93

    When questioned he said <daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

    Local city code. Go figure.

    § 3-2-4 - HUNTING AND TRAPPING WILD ANIMALS.

    (A) Except as provided in Subsection (B), a person may not:

    (1) knowingly shoot, kill, or hunt a wild animal; or

    (2) use a steel-jawed spring trap or any other type of trap that could injure a trapped animal or person.

    (B) Subsection (A) does not prohibit the use of conventional mouse traps to catch mice and rats.>


    Which makes no mention of squirrels being protected. To me it means "NO
    Hunting" prob cuz they don't want people "shooting" in the city which
    makes perfect sense but I just don't see "squirrels are protected"
    mentioned in there.

    https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/huntwild/hunt/fur_bearing/nuisance/

  • fbx22
    4 years ago

    Voles

  • anthonysong
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    After countless hours of digging I found where the critter was coming in from (you can see the small crack in the picture). There were tunnels in the soil and I found a small nest in it as well. Literally went through every inch of the bed and I finally caught the little gopher that was eating my plants! The sense of relief... 8 hours of work. I got some cement and cemented where the ground meets the wood so this won't happen again. Thank you everyone for your help!


  • dirt_tracker Alabama Zone 8A
    4 years ago

    Congratulations on solving the mystery and fixing the problem!!!

  • gumby_ct
    4 years ago

    Certainly, but let me add that unless and until the offender and offspring are located and dealt with I have to think they will want to eat again in the future.

  • dirt_tracker Alabama Zone 8A
    4 years ago

    The OP said he caught the gopher...I don't know if he put the gopher on a plane headed for Siberia or what, but you are correct that if he didn't catch *all* of them and "convince" them to stay away then they know where the salad bar is located and will be back. Fort Knox security required. :)