Thursday, April 15, 2010

Foil Proof! A Study on Gopher Activity

Pocket gophers have been both a problem and a blessing in our clients Los Altos Hills garden.

Two years ago, we planted eight snow peas over the winter for a spring harvest, all with cages underneath to protect the roots.  Just as the plants were ready to be harvested, six of the plants were severed (above-ground) at the base and pulled underground.  Two of the eight plants survived.  We were dumbfounded.  How could this have happened with gopher cages under the plants?

This year, we managed to plant eight snow peas again, all with cages underground, as we had done the year before.  This time, as the snow peas were lengthening their stems, we wrapped foil around the bases of the plants where the gophers damaged the plants previously.  All, but one plant, survived.  The one plant that did not survive did not have foil wrapped around its base and was severed and pulled underground.

Our experiment with snow peas ended with a good harvest this year, whereas the previous year they were food for the resident gopher.

Sorry Mr. Gopher but your plans have been foiled; though I'd like to thank you for aerating the soil for us!
Photograph taken April 2010:  Snow Peas in a gopher cage with foil wrapped around the bases of its stems.  Plant is surrounded by hard-to-control Lemon Balm seedlings.

No comments: