Monday, June 13, 2016

The Chipmunk Wars have begun

I managed to finish planting the vegetable garden yesterday. For a change, I'd calculated things close to perfectly -- no wasted space and no seed packets left sitting there unopened. So what's the first thing I see after I stand up to look around? A chipmunk. He was sitting on the pump house roof, no doubt scouting the garden and figuring out where to dig first.

The little furry bastards did a number on the garden last year. They dug seeds up before they could sprout, they started harvesting potatoes long before we could, and in general had me thinking dark thoughts about importing weasels. This year I'm firing the first volley -- I invested in a canister of something called Critter Ridder, a mix of various natural ingredients that will supposedly discourage varmints from eating anything that's been dusted with it. As far as I can tell, it's basically a mix of hot peppers. It felt like I was seasoning the soil as I wandered up and down the rows liberally dusting everything with a hot pepper mix. Now the only question is whether or not it will work.

I am moderately hopeful that the chipmunks won't be as much of a nuisance this year. I'm not seeing as many around so maybe weasels did wipe out a bunch over the winter. I hope so. Last summer was the first year they'd ever been a problem. In fact, until last summer I'd never noticed any in the garden at all. They'd always seemed perfectly happy subsisting on stuff that fell outside the fence, like spruce cones and chokecherries. Somehow I'd never pictured them as being interested in potatoes. Live and learn.

I have a vague sense of being slightly late on finishing up planting stuff, but considering that we had a late frost it's just as well that the beans didn't go into the ground until yesterday. Our growing season is so short even in a good year that just about everything that goes into the garden now comes in seed packets that promise less than 2 months from planting to harvest. Either that, or it's a root vegetable like carrots and parsnips. I do have tomato plants in the garden, but I also know that when it gets to be late summer I'm going to end up picking most of them green and letting them ripen in the house. It actually amazes me that people (myself included) are willing to put so much time and effort into gardening, both vegetables and flowers, when we're lucky if we get to enjoy three full months of stuff growing and blooming.


  1. Maybe put out some sunflower seeds at the edges of the garden for them?

  2. There's plenty of natural food around here. I'm not going to encourage them by setting up an actual buffet.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.