Getting the Gopher! … and a garden update

Pests are a problem in any garden and I recently returned from vacation to find that a nemesis had returned and had taken out at least one plant.  Grrr!  I work so hard to grow my plants and keep them alive, I take it kind of personal when some little unwelcome rodent helps himself.

So I’ve looked into poison, but it was a little risky for the dogs and kids.

I’ve looked into gas, but it was too ineffective from stuff I read and people I talked to.

There are all kinds of home remedies out there too.  I decided to go with something more conventional and tested.

A Victor gopher trap.  You can find them at Depot or Lowe’s and they aren’t too expensive and you can actually reuse them (but I don’t).

This video does a good job of explaining how to set the trap.  No bait needed.  If you have a super fresh tunnel exit, simply dig it back a little to where the tunnel is a little thicker.  Then pull extra dirt out of the tunnel to make the tunnel as wide as possible.  Tie a string to the trigger of your trap (The big square thing that comes up to hold down the tines.  It has a hole in it for string).  Set the trap and insert it into the hole as far in as you can.  Put the barb end in first so that the trigger is closer to the exit.  The gopher will walk right between the barbs to push dirt out over the trigger and WHAMO!  He’s caught (not to mention critically injured, if not dead).

Once the trap is in the hole, tie the string to a stake in the ground.  This keeps the gopher from pulling the trap back into the tunnel once he’s caught.  It also gives you something to pull on to get the gopher out.  When it’s set, leave it alone.  You can look into the hole and see if the trap is sprung but don’t disturb the trap.  I set mine in the afternoon and checked it in the morning.  The trigger may still look like it is UP, but if you see dirt all around the trigger then chances are it’s been sprung.  This works because gophers don’t like to have openings into their tunnels and will try to fill the exit back up.

This lady has a little older model, with a chain instead of a string.  Same idea.  Personally, I don’t pull the gopher out and play with it like this lady does, but… hey, I’m just weird like that.  They do have some nasty teeth and claws.  Personally I just chucked the whole thing, trap and all.  Also my gopher was still alive when I pulled it out.  So… I happen to have my shovel handy… now, let me just say that there is something very satisfying about finishing off one of these little boogers.  Hehehe… anyway, the dirt covers most of the carnage, but here it is.



Ah!  The garden is safe once again!  Unless they just had babies there is only one gopher per tunnel system from what I understand.

I did manage to get some other things done around the garden this weekend.  I cleaned out and weeded bed 1.  Man, those Red Russian Kale can have some serious roots!


i also harvested the next batch of artichokes.  The next round forming right now has even more than this batch.  I’m seeing EIGHT buds.  Wahoo!  I also moved the sunchokes to a different location to give this guy his space.  I know I take a lot of pictures of it, but I’m just continually impressed with the massiveness of this plant!  It’s huge!



Not done switching everything over for spring.  More ollas to buy and more plants to plant.  This is a fun time of year, but getting hot fast!  Gotta get movin!

Currently harvesting: cabbage, chard, collards, artichokes, leeks

Linked to the Homestead Barn Hop.


This entry was posted in artichoke, gophers, Jerusalem artichokes, Red Russian Kale, wine bottle ollas. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Getting the Gopher! … and a garden update

  1. Laura says:

    Lived in Phoenix for 28 years and had no idea there were gophers there. We’ve been dealing with rats, I don’t know which is worse.

    • Yuck! I’ve dealt with mice, but not rats. Well, we do buy a rat every other week, but it doesn’t last long… my son has a hungry ball python. I can say from watching the snake food that rats are 10x smarter than mice. Either way… I don’t want them in my garden!

  2. I was reading and thinking Bill Murray and Caddyshack. 🙂

  3. nebraskadave says:

    Jones, gophers are a challenge but just try to catch a ten pound groundhog. I have at least two living in the bank behind my garden. I know that because last spring I saw a little groundhog. He didn’t make it across the road and was killed to the joy of the neighborhood. I expect to see another this spring because the parents are still at large. Yeah, and groundhogs are garden buffet vegetarians. :-p Hopefully, the corn I planted for him surrounding his exit tunnel with at least slow him down a little.

    Have a great gopher less day in the garden.

  4. ROYSFARM says:

    Rats or gophers which is worse? I mean which is much harmful for the garden?

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