cdog222
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Kale question... >>morphed into groundHOG and quinoa talk

Hi all,

Quick background info - I've been a long time on again and off again lurker, one or two time poster (several years ago), and have now found my way back to the VG forum. Just reading through random threads has been fun and informative. The diversity in approaches to a common interest is amazing!

So....in my little garden patch in the back yard, I've had a 4 x 4 plot of kale growing in a raised bed. It's been doing quite nicely - I've been able to balance the amount I harvest with it's ability to produce new leaves, and have had a good supply of kale chips, sauteed kale, and the like. Unfortunately, what I think was a gopher (my kids called me on the phone and told me that there was a beaver in the garden! I'm assuming that it was gopher, but who knows???) found my little patch and made short work of it over a two night period. Now I have a lovely patch of kale stalks. Do I pull 'em and move on to the next crop, or do you suppose there is enough energy in the root systems to push up new leaves again? I'm in no hurry - it will be a month before I'm ready to replant something, so I'll eventually find out. However, I am impatient and thought maybe someone has had a similar experience...



Thanks in advance!
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valley
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Re: Kale question...

cdog hi, Glad you came by. if the roots are there it will come back. Wonder what it was that ate the tops, a gopher, I think would eat the roots to start with. Good luck with the kale, let us know what you decide.

Is what we see in the picture what is left?

richard

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Kale question...

:eek: :evil: When I lived in PA I kept seeing what I thought was a beaver in our tiny 6'x10' garden. My husband quickly corrected me. It was a groundhog....and hog it did. I tried 3 different kinds of fences to no avail. It got in or under every single time! I'd think it was gone, things would start to revive then BAM!!! He'd mow it down again.

My husband saw it one night and shot it (to my absolute horror).

They can really do a lot of damage!
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

cdog222
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Re: Kale question...

Hopefully this guy is just passing through and not looking to set up shop. I don't know if I have it in me to shoot it if it continues to use my garden as a buffet, but I'll have to figure something out if it persists :wink:

The pic is of the remaining stalk nubs that were left. The roots are definitely intact, so I'll let the kale be for now and see what happens. I've only grown it a couple of times, and only into early summer.

I guess I'd be a lot more upset if my tomatoes were all destroyed, but as I'm sure all of you fellow gardeners would agree - it's tough to lose any plants that you have observed and cared for from seeds to harvest. I try to use organic techniques as much as possible, and as such resign to 'donating' a little bit of this and a little bit of that to my little backyard ecosystem.

The gopher wins this battle, but the 'war' wages on!

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Kale question...

I don't know if I have it in me to shoot it if it continues to use my garden as a buffet, but I'll have to figure something out if it persists
Tell me about it! I get squeamish about hand picking and killing pests in my garden. I'm getting over it now, though.

Maybe trap and relocate?
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

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applestar
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Re: Kale question...

Agree it was groundHOG.

Tell your kids beaver would be more chestnut brown rather than squirrel grey and has a large paddle shaped tail. My younger daughter who is familiar with groundHOGs because I send the kids out to chase them (no dog) told me those were the characteristics she used to ID a beaver she saw sitting up along a side of the road as we were driving by.

Your kale will recover but I find brassicas hard to grow through the summer. They barely hold ground under onslaught of cabbage butterflies and moths, and harlequin bugs. Then they recover as the weather cools in fall. I guess it's up to you whether to keep them until then or grow something else.

Once they find a tasty all you can eat buffet, groundHOGs tend to come back. Electric fence or big dogs are about the only things that keep them out. My nemesis is back and has been digging summer vacation homes -- one bolt hole by the AC unit and a more comfortable lodging by the compost pile. Tried burning an organic mosquito incense in the hole entrances, which kept it away for a couple of days until it rained. Blocked the holes yesterday -- heard a sharp whistle yesterday so it found the blockage (they are also called "Whistle Pig" and "Woodchuck") Now getting ready to go out and see if it's back -- thinking of making smudge sticks wrapped around a dried hot pepper and tossing them inside further in the hole. :twisted:

ETA - I go through these exercises (in futility. :roll: ) but we always ultimately trap them. DH is procuring a trap. Even if I could, there's no shooting in NJ and particularly no shooting in residential development.
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valley
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Re: Kale question...

How bout with a new 1000fps BBGun, pretty quiet. Then you can plant the bandit in the garden. Your husband might like that.

Richard

cdog222
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Re: Kale question...

I am the husband :shock:

I guess 'cdog222' is a little ambiguous!

I haven't seen the gopher since he filled up on my kale, but he need not worry - a bullet or a BB is not in his future. If he becomes a problem, I guess I'll learn how to capture gophers and find him a new home.

I was going to let the stalks go to see if they would leaf out again, but Applestar has reminded me of the cabbage butterflies / moths. They have done a number on my broccoli the last few years! I can probably squeeze a round of bush beans in there and then plant some kale again for the fall season when the pests are a little less abundant.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Kale question...

........he WILL be back....
Lindsay
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USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

valley
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Re: Kale question...

cdog222, Careful where you relocate the rodent. They've relocated bear, for killing livestock, they have just killed in another area, by our upper ranch.

Electric fence, if installed well can really do the job, 87.333%.

Richard

cdog222
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Re: Kale question...

I guess this has gotten a little off topic from Kale to gophers, but my little friend is back and in addition to kale, seems to have a penchant for quinoa seed heads. My first attempt at growing quinoa was going quite well - all of the seed heads had started forming, and they were hitting a good growth spurt. I had read that the seeds are coated in a natural repellant that insects don't like. This is NOT the case for gophers - the little bastard ate every seed head off of every plant. I just spotted him myself for the first time, and can indeed confirm that he is the culprit.

I will definitely be looking for some better long term defenses, but in the mean time let's see how much he can eat before I capture him! ....And of course humanely release him in accordance with local conservation department policy :wink:

Always an adventure!

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applestar
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Re: Kale question...

So it IS gophers? I guess I'll just lurk then as I have no experience whatsoever with them.

Good luck -- I really hope you save your garden.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Kale question...

Gophers have a hairless tail and their front teeth show, and the teeth are yellow. Groundhogs have fuzzy tails and their front teeth don't show.

I wanna grow quinoa!
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

cdog222
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Re: Kale question...

Doh! - I meant groundhog. Not sure how I morphed a groundhog into a gopher!

If all goes well, I'll post his pretty picture in a day or two, albeit inside of a temporary cage....

6sparkpug6
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Re: Kale question...

cdog222, might I ask where you got the quinoa seeds? I've never even thought about growing them, but I love quinoa!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Kale question...

Definitely groundhog! Even without any description of the animal, I recognize the damage, plants chewed down from the top, leaving little stem nubs. You would rarely see gophers, which tunnel underground, but the groundhog (though she lives in an underground burrow) walks boldly around your garden.

I had a resident groundhog who chewed down lots of things in my garden until we got a dog!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

cdog222
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Re: Kale question...

Yep - I purchased them through wildgardenseed.com. I picked up a few other odds and ends with the quinoa seeds, and have been very pleased with everything.

I still have not caught the groundhog that made short work of my quinoa, but I also haven't seen any signs of him for over a week. I left all of the quinoa 'stumps' that he left after eating all of the seed heads, and while the stumps didn't do much at first, they are finally starting to push out new leaves and some small side shoots with little seed heads. I had plans for the space that it is currently occupying, but it's not that pressing so I am going to let them do their thing and see if I can't get at least a tiny little harvest. I know that 'waiting until next year' comes with gardening, but sometimes I just don't want to wait!

LeVin
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Re: Kale question...

Groundhogs do not venture far from their hole - I've heard less than 50 yards from their den, so their browsing areas remains pretty much the same, and they can be seen again and again as long as there is food and no threat. Over the years, I've made a point of chasing down every single groundhog in my property. Most of the times they just run over or under the fence, sometimes they meet an unfortunate early end. However, they are bold and fond of the foods we grow, so they'll venture out when there is no human activity within the house. Trying traps right now, though nothing but some squirrels have fallen for that one so far. I may have to simple entrench the entire gardening area with an overly complicated fencing system that'll take a lot of hours of work and make gardening more difficult.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Kale question...

Since I garden in raised beds, it is easy to wrap individual beds in deer netting or plastic fencing. I still do. Even though the groundhog stays away now that we have a dog, the raccoons are still here and will face down a dog any day. So the gardens are still wrapped.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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