Caught and confirmed! Plus, more critter damage

It took moving the garden cam a few times, but I finally managed it.

I caught him in the act.

It is confirmed that the woodchuck is eating our peas plants.

The green peas are completely shot this year. Between the heat, the dryness, the poor soil and Woody here, eating them, they’re toast. I don’t even know why we still water them, but we do.

Oddly, the purple peas aren’t being eaten. They’re still struggling from the drought conditions, though.

If we are to get any peas this year, it’s now down to the ones I planted among the corn as nitrogen fixers. This morning, I think I even saw a single sprout, under one of the purple corn plants!

When the girls were watering last night, they picked some zucchini and sunburst squash. One of the zucchini had a bite taken out of the end! Like something took a taste and decided they didn’t like it. I’ve seen a few eaten leaves, too. The deer leave the summer squash alone; the spikes on the leaf stems are too much for their tender lips. The woodchucks seem to have a slightly better tolerance for it.

This really, really frustrated me. We put the wire mesh around the Crespo squash in the morning, and by evening, large amounts of it were gone. These have far fewer spines on their stems compared to the summer squash.

Looking around the barriers, I found the likely place they got through. Not that it would have been hard, anywhere around it.

When we made this squash hill, we took advantage of a hill that was already there, created by drunk plowing. There are lower furrows near it, making the ground even more uneven than in other parts of the old garden area. That left a furrow and a drop that made it really easy for a critter to slip under the wire.

I tried to use wire soil staples to peg the bottom of the chicken wire to the ground, but couldn’t. There are so many rocks under there, I couldn’t push the wire through far enough to hold it down. I tried an area about two feet long by a foot wide, and there wasn’t a single place I could push the wire through before being blocked by buried rocks. I ended up folding the bottom of the wire mesh under, then weighing it down with bricks. When I checked this morning, there was no new damage.

At this point, we’re thinking we’re not going to get an Crespo squash. The plants are using their energy to recover from critter damage. Of the flowers we’ve seen, there have still been no female flowers, and as long as stuff like this is happening, they won’t have the energy to produce fruit. If any fruit does start to develop, there is no longer enough of a growing season left for them to fully mature.

I did not invest all this time, effort and money to feed rodents instead of my family.

Those critters have got to go!!

The Re-Farmer

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