If you are a gardener you have a list of enemies that rival even the greatest super hero. For BatMan it is the Joker, Penguin, King Tut, The Riddler, Bane and Cat Woman. Each of these nefarious thugs want to wage war with the Caped Crusader and leave their mark on the streets of Gotham City. I face a similar threat, although in a much more realistic setting. You see after writing the thing I most enjoy is gardening. When I am running dirt through my hands planting flowers or vegetables I am as near to heaven as I can get on this earth. My wife prefers to dig and plant with a shovel and frowns at me when I drop to my knees and begin clawing at the soil.
So it may not surprise you that I take personal umbrage to anything or anyone that works to thwart my gardening success. Of course there is the elements, the combination of sun, rain, wind and the like that I just have no control over. I understand that, after many years of cursing the weather pattern that humbled my crops. Some things are just out of your hands.
But there is another that just really brings the beast out of me. What could make a mild mannered guy like me see red? Critters! Particularly wild rabbits and groundhogs. I live on three and a quarter acres of prime agricultural property that is surrounded by many more acres and all of it is crawling with these potential crop destroying pests. For the last two years we have not successfully grown a crop of our preferred green beans due to them and I set out this year with a whole different strategy.
Let me offer apologies for any member of our armed services that tune in for this post, but I prefer to describe what I do in military like terms. There is a deterrent and a containment piece of my strategy. The deterrent comes in with firearms, of which my son is quite fond. As a matter of fact he has one groundhog and three rabbits to his credit since he got the gun. When rabbit season is in swing again I know he will do well. The containment is a fencing system to deprive the critters of their preferred grazing ground.
This first gun is a Remington Model 870 12 guage shot gun. My son bought it for himself to celebrate turning eighteen. It is a sharp looking gun and packs a powerful punch, not only coming out of the barrel, but in the recoil. I do not shoot it very much. But he has become very accurate in his use.
Most of the time I use this 22 caliber long rifle. It has a longer range of course, but you must be more accurate. So far I have eliminated one bunny and scared the snot out of several more and at least two groundhogs. At least that is my story. In truth it may be more like this video. Yeah, I know, gophers and groundhogs are not the same, but I have to wonder if the ones I miss don;t do this after I go back to my business.
In the event that our deterrence is not completely successful I have erected a fence to encircle the particular variety of green beans that the rodents prefer. The beans are called Tenderettes and are a bush bean varietyt and as the name suggests these beans are a more tender variety. They are stringless, which means when harvesting you don’t have to “string” the beans before you break them into smaller sections. The critters on my property love them.
I had planned to use an electric fence, which would have probably turned the larger groundhogs out, but the rabbits likely would have slipped through. Instead I opted for a more in penetrable fence. It is constructed of tobacco stakes driven in the ground and a heavy weight landscape fabric I had left over from my greenhouse days. By stapling the fabric to the sticks and then mulching around the base I can guarantee the beans a good chance to mature. This was a no-cost solution and therefore much more preferable than spending cash.
Our last deterrent device is a double barrel 12 guage shot gun. I took a shot with it this morning, but really am not sure of my success. The groundhog scurried back to his abode and I am unsure if i hit him or not. I suppose if I don’t see any sign in the next day or so I can claim victory. Now I want to leave you with an old favorite of mine. But let me just say this; I do not claim my son is any resemblance for the most famous Mr. Fudd. I have this here for your enjoyment only.