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Re: please help with groundhog problem

  • Subject: Re: [cg] please help with groundhog problem
  • From: Steve Smoot <steveshome@juno.com>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 10:54:56 -0700

Here in the west, we've got the groundhog's cousin - the marmot.


The community garden that I enjoyed for 7 or 8 years is on city park property - we are not allowed to even "harass" the wildlife. Our first year was a disaster. I grew lots of carrots, peas, & beans. They were wiped out by the marmots. So I looked around and discovered that other gardeners got away with growing potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and corn with no apparent damage.


The next few years I planted those 4 crops in abundance until the vandals & deer forced me to abandon the tomatoes. By last year, we had "trained" the marmots to eat the onions and to dig up and eat the sprouting corn. That left us only with the potatoes.


Possible extermination of the marmots just doesn't look like it would work since a rocky river bank is so close by and there are miles of suitable habitat. It would be a shame to introduce poison into the environment. We simply decided to not return to the community garden this Spring.


Over the years, others have tried chicken wire fence - leaving the top unattached and floppy. Marmots are big, fat guys and they can't climb over something like that very well. But, they always learn to get in somehow just like they learned to eat new crops over the seasons.


Right now, a 2 1/2 acre garden with FREE water has NO gardeners. Some of the old gardeners still feel they have a "stake" in the garden and are trying to come up with some appropriate use for the ground so that it won't be lost. Native perennials and ornamentals are the latest idea but that seems unlikely. Sad but true, the garden has been lost for this season at least.


On a more positive note, in another location, I have been very successful in ridding an area of ground squirrels - these guys are like prairie dogs in Colorado and elsewhere.


My technique is to drive large rocks into the opening of the burrows with a sledgehammer. I honestly think that the squirrels just find another place to dig out but I continue to harass them - so they leave.


This hasn't worked for the marmots because they live in the rocks rather than in soil and I've never been able to close the entrances. Maybe concrete!?!



Spokane, WA


-----Original Message-----
  From: community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
mailto:community_garden-admin@mallorn.com]On Behalf Of Jude Carson
  Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2004 6:13 PM
  To: community_garden@mallorn.com
  Subject: [cg] please help with groundhog problem



  In out fourth year of operation, this is the first year we have had a
problem. I would truly appreciate any and all advice...!!! Helllpp...
  Jude Carson in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada


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