Groundhogs and bamboo and squash bugs, oh my!

garden pests


Challenges, gardening challenges!

Last fall we thought we had Wilbur living under the garage for the winter, and that was kinda cute and all, and one groundhog doesn’t eat that much.  So Wilbur could stay, ok. He even wrote a blog last fall.  

Well spring came and Wilbur wasn’t so cute any more, when my neighbor across the alley asked me one day if I knew I had baby groundhogs under the garage, coming out the front end to look around.  Groundhogs, 4 babies and Wilbur, who turned out to be Wilburina.  Oh my. Somewhere up in the field or woods up above my property lives a male groundhog, who met Wilburina very early in the spring……..

For a while we fed them tomatoes and carrots, cos they were hungry babies.  And we’re all soft hearted here. Mama keeps babies in the den till they’re 4 weeks old, then starts taking them out a little, and soon they go out on their own. Foraging. For everything they like.  Like parsley, green bean plants, kidney bean plants, and short tomato plants.

So this little family had its home here, and it wouldn’t have been ok to move anybody while they were still nursing and not able to live on their own. But, everybody needs to GO! So when they were old enough, I had a guy come with traps. By then I hadn’t seen Wilburina or 2 of the babies for a couple days.  2 other babies were here all the time, out looking for garden stuff to eat.  So 2 got trapped and taken up in the mountains near here, to find new groundhog homes.

Now Wilburina and the 2 other babies must have gone up to the woods to spend the summer.  I’m sure she’ll be back around the 1st of September to check out her old apartment and see if it’s still available.  Well, Wiburina, it is NOT available. I can’t go thru all that again next year with a bunch of pups, cos they really messed my garden up.  So, I’m arranging to have barriers put at the bottom of the garage, at the places they can go under there.  Wilburina will have to go live in the woods like the other groundhogs do.

Then there is bamboo.  And there were birds. Wrote blogs about that earlier.  

When I had half of it cut down, what I didn’t know was that the other parts would consider the whole system as having been injured/amputated and it needed to start sending out root shoots everywhere, all thru my yard and even across the alley, digging up the macadam.

invasive bamboo

So, after 15 years, and having had people tell me that at some point, I would be sorry I ever planted it, I was soooo sorry I ever planted it.  I can’t have it digging up the alley, and I don’t want it literally everywhere, all thru my yard. So I had the rest cut down.  It looks pretty apocalyptic, or at least real bare out there.  Now I have to have some big machinery come and take the roots out, to keep it from continuing to grow. Then plant grass to make a nice space out of what was the bamboo grove.  I miss it, but it had to go.

invasive bamboo

But summer goes on and gardening goes on.  Lots of tomatoes are doing great and some just starting to ripen. Not so great about  the beans, thanks to our little invasive family we had here, but some limas are still ok.  Lots of peppers, both hot and sweet. Lots of squash, and groundhogs don’t like squash plants, thankfully.  But I’m fighting squash bugs. I’m looking for and destroying their eggs every day to prevent an onslaught, cos a lot of them can kill a squash plant in a few days.  So I will win this war, and none will get the opportunity to hatch.

My favorite squash is delicata, and I have one plant  doing really well with 8 squash growing on it and lots more flowers.

winter squash

Also have some summer squash: little pattipans and gagats, which we’ve been eating for several weeks.

summer squash

So, summer goes along and with it came some unique challenges this year.  Some will go away, like groundhogs and bamboo issues.  But squash bugs, no, they’ll be back next year.

13 responses to “Groundhogs and bamboo and squash bugs, oh my!

  1. I guess groundhogs are something like a cross between a mole and a wombat? I am glad we don’t have them here. Rabbits are the main menace at our place.
    I can relate to your issue with the bamboo as our daughter had similar problems in her garden only the bamboo was invading from the house next door. My daughter tried all sorts of methods to get rid of it and now they have an underground barrier of a sort. I hope it keeps the bamboo out because it has cost a fair amount to get the barrier installed.

    • A barrier like that works, people here have told me, since it’s made to go below the depth of bamboo roots. The root system on bamboo can never be underestimated, cos it’s like one big grass plant. I’ve heard of people having it invade from next door around here. I don’t know how big a wombat gets, but moles here are very small, and an adult groundhog will weigh maybe 25 pounds. Big rodent, big appetite!

    • We’re in Point Ridge Farms outside Camp Hill, Pa – half acre lots and woods and muddy banks all lead to the Conoduguinet Creek. Adult groundhogs here seem larger than our beagle and he weights 30 pounds.

  2. Loved (and identified) with this one. I had a 50′ x 50′ section built of waist-high raised cinder block and cedar beds to outsmart the groundhogs and accommodate my 70 year old knees … and the deer said “why thank you Mrs. Maxton”. Deer apparently love broccoli, lettuces and parsley – but not swiss chard. Last night we dined on delicious stuffed zucchini squash – my husband calls them thousand dollar squash. I still try to outsmart chippies; I planted some tomatoes by the stone wall, some by the garage among the rudbeckias, and many in my elaborate raised bins – surely enough for ALL. But mine are also just forming hard green. It’s been a cool wet weather summer in central Pa.

    • Hello and thanks for visiting and commenting. I’m 40 miles south of Harrisburg. Yea, I think deer like pretty much everything a gardener might plant. I don’t have deer here, but I’ve talked to lots of people who had them ruin their gardens, built fences, etc. Enjoy your squash and everything else you’re growing! And the rest of your summer.

    • It’s been fun and frustration both at the same time Jackie. I must admit those little devils were cute. They got in the traps right after the guy left after setting them that night and he wasn’t coming back till the next day. So I moved them out of the sun, up in the yard under a big tree in the shade. And several times during the next day, I was out there checking on them. He had left lots of apple pieces in the traps so they’d have something to eat till he got back. But the hungry little things ate all their apples, so I was out there with baby carrots and pieces of tomato so they wouldn’t be hungry, soon leaving for their new home. Once I went out and one had eaten all his carrots and looked at me like: hey, you know those carrots were small, right? So out I came with more carrots. I didn’t want them harmed, I just wanted them OUT of here! 😊 I’m a softee for animals, even the ones that ate parts of my garden.

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