Sunday, August 1, 2010

Woodchuck, part 3.

So, woodchuck number three has been captured and is awaiting relocation.

We actually caught this one last night.  I had the trap set and baited for the last couple days (i think i am getting pretty good at anticipating their entry points) and i had been checking it every so often.  I had spread some blood meal and bone meal on Thursday, but i watered the whole garden deeply yesterday morning, washing much of it away- at least the smell.

But hubby was outside last night, enjoying a cigar and the new patio set he cobbled together from the clearance sections of a few stores. (It looks nice and it all actually matches.) And he kept hearing this clashing metal sound.  After a good 45 minutes he remembered that i'd set the trap and he went to check it.  There was the  groundhog.
So hubby and the groundhog spent the evening  at the patio set, in front of the  fire pit, chatting it up.   Hubby gave it another apple and a few greens.  He placed two small pieces of plywood in a tipi shape to help it relax overnight.

So anyway, its now been moved to the shade and in a few minutes it will be relocated- hubby has some errands to run in that direction but has other things to be doing right now...

I did find it interesting that the first woodchuck was caught in broad daylight- brazen little thing-  that was the crazy one that attacked me and gave me "Lord of the Flies" mental flashbacks for  3 weeks....

The second woodchuck was caught in the early morning and this third one was an evening raider.
I guess they all find their little niche.
And they all found my Havahart.
Of course they found my veggies first.

This one sampled everything though. Carrot & parsnip tops, sweet potato leaves, cabbage, JA leaves, collards, the remains of my broccoli... but not the Swiss chard or Kale.  That kale...  i wonder if the other stuff is simply tastier or woodchucks don't like kale.  Seems unlikely, but if kale would be safe from them i'd grow rows of it forever.  Anyhow, the only things it really damaged are the 3 collard plants.

I haven't cleared out the broccoli and chard yet because the seeds i planted for a fall crop have not sprouted yet.  None of them.  Six types of seed, from different places and no sign of a seedling. I'm a little surprised at this.

I'm trying to think of something i can direct sow into those spots that will actually produce before the end of the season, but i'm not sure of anything- Johnny's SS blog did mention dill and cilantro can still grow this time of year in this area, but time is running out quickly.  I wish i'd planted more beans & cukes and i wonder if its too hot to plant peas.
We have had some cool nights and daytime temps have been cool, high 70's.  Its been great weather for humans.  Its also been dry, no rain the last 4 days and none in sight for the next three at least.

No ripe tomatoes yet. The Romas are starting to get that bronzy look though, where the red pigment starts to come through and mixes with the green.
I have a lot of very green tomatoes and the Polfast has a giant tomato on it.
I guess i have to see if i can look up what weather conditions are conducive to tomato ripening. I have been reading garden boards and blogs a lot and i keep seeing that other people's 'maters aren't ripening the usual way this year.

I picked a huge bunch of basil yesterday and made Macadamia, Roasted Garlic & Basil Pesto. I had to leave the garlic out of hubby's cause he's scared of garlic.  Until he tried mine (i added the roasted and smashed garlic to half the batch in a separate bowl), and realized he was being silly.
I made one of those  "meat" with 40 cloves one time and the aroma of it freaked him out. I thought it was delicious but he was traumatized i guess.  Its been 5 years, but he still thinks i was trying to drive him out of the house that night, lol.

Oh, speaking of garlic, i think i might pick the bulb fennel, it hasn't grown at all for weeks and i'm sure its planning to bolt, but when i pick it i think i will sow some buckwheat there and in the fall after first frost i will plant some garlic.  So i can't wait to have baby fennel, roasted in EVOO.

I picked another pound or so of green beans and probably another 3-4 pounds of summer squashes. We've been eating and sharing it out.
I can pick the squash daily, the green beans get picked every other day and are still producing  nicely.

One of the oval watermelons is about the size of a Nerf football and the round watermelons are approaching croquet ball size.  I picked one of the slicing cucumbers the other day, it was over a foot long but not over ripe and the pickling cukes are averaging one good sized cuke a day.  I need to plant a lot more of these next summer if i want to use them for more than a daily snack.

I haven't felt up to doing any work in the flower beds and where hubby has seeded the bare half of the yard i can't really get in to put the edging around my grape and berry row.  It also seems like the corner brackets i wanted to get from Lowe's are unavailable. What a shock. >8o(

So not much going on but weeding, woodchucks and trying to decide what to do next if at all....


Pam J. said...

I'll tell my hubby about your success w/ the woodchuck. It might inspire him. Although he'll have trouble with the idea of transplanting our pest to someplace where he will just eat someone else's garden. Sorry to say, but my husband would much prefer to just shoot the things. The other day I watched a big fat one chomping down lots of clover -- sort of like a weed-whacker -- from in between the flagstones in my backyard. So far he hasn't been able to penetrate my little veggie garden, although I'm sure he could do it if he put his mind to it. I usually just chase them away but this one was not doing any harm so I let him be.I figured it's better to let him eat the clover than to listen to the extremely annoying weed-whacker that my loud-noise-loving husband likes to use.

icebear said...

We just find places out near hayfields, away from houses & horses but around the river where they won't become another gardener's problem.

As far as i'm concerned they can eat all the clover and dandelions they want, welcome to it, but once they start raiding my garden they seem to invite friends and it snowballs out of control. I wish they preferred the weeds. Heck, i'd gladly plant a little garden and tend it just to share, but it doesn't work that way. lol
I love animals, but woodchucks can be frustration to the point where if shooting is the only option i don't even flinch.
Of course being in-town and with the firearms ordinances, i can only hope that the Havahart/Relocation technique keeps working.
Of course the way i discover i have a varmint is when i see i have suddenly lost a few whole plants.
I'm always going to lose some produce to them, but keeping it to a minimum is the goal.

LJ said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! We have woodchucks too, luckily they stay out of the yard because of the dogs but they cornered one when DH was taking them for a walk this weekend. For such chubby things they can sure squeeze into small spaces!

Faith said...

I was going to say it was the cooler days, but I found this...

[Another factor in how long it takes for a tomato to turn red is the outside temperature. Tomatoes will only produce lycopene and carotene, two substances that help a tomato turn red, between the temperatures of 50F and 85F. If it is any cooler that 50F, those tomatoes will stay a stubborn green. Any warmer than 85F and the process that produces lycopene and carotene comes to a screeching halt.]

Which I find odd. In CA we had days in the upper 90's and into the 100s, regularly. No problem with tomatoes there. Not sure what's up with this advice.

Congrats on the 3rd woodchuck. You are doing great with that trap! Looks like it will be a never ending battle, but at least you are catching them pretty quickly after they find your garden.

Do we get a photo of the patio set? Good Shopping toast, to your DH.

I love bulb fennel. I never got to roast them last year as I'd planned though.


icebear said...


Our dog is sort of useless since she has to stay on a leash and the woodchucks quickly figure out her limited range, though she does try to get at them when she notices.

My sister has a Catahoula Leopard Dog, and when they lived in MO the dog actually treed a woodchuck. Before then i never knew they could climb trees! lol

They were definitely created for survival!

icebear said...


I'll have to get some pics of the table set, its quite nice actually, he got a decent umbrella and a sturdy table. He got some of the foldy canvas chairs, Coleman brand and the well made ones. I prefer those to the more formal non-folding type. These store easier and can be taken everywhere we go and need a chair.

Interesting info with the tomatoes, funny how things seem to be not quite adding up this year. Our temps have been cool overnight, but definitely not below 60 degrees and daytime has been below 85. Should be perfect ripening weather.
My sister in CA has also not gotten any ripe tomatoes- well some cherry type that ripen one at a time every few days . (sporadic harvest of tiny tomatoes is a little annoying to her lol)But all the others are green and she has had similar temps.
I wish i had written down when i get my first ripe tomato for the years i have grown them... i may have but i have lost my computer Journals too many times due to crashes-- which is why i so willingly switched to this web-based format.
Next year i'll have a date to compare :o)