Night Visitors

I toil in my garden all day. The critters toil at night. I feel like I’m growing Mrs. MacGregor’s garden.

We could hear them scurrying all night long. Well, at least until 2 am, which is when we went to sleep. This is what I woke up to.

Critters dug up bed #3 last night.

My lovely row of Blue Lake pole beans is no more.

They don't appear to have eaten the beans. I suspect they were after the wonderful worms in the loose soil in my raised beds.

I was worried that they would get my Babcock peaches.

Or the Panamint nectarines.

Or my beautiful Snow Queen nectarines. So far, critters have managed to get the Snow Queens every year and I've never tasted them. There are only four on the little tree, so I may not get any this year either.

They dug up one out of four of the Boston Pickling Cucumbers that I planted yesterday. I quickly replanted it before I took this photo.

Bed #1 is getting densely populated enough that they didn't do much damage here except for the cuke.

They skipped right over Bed #2 with newly planted Black Krim and Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. The miserable looking things on the left are Snow Wind peas. I'm really unimpressed with them.

This is an overview of the back in early June. Looks peaceful enough in the morning.

This is the long view of the back, looking toward the chicken coop, herb garden and three raised beds. Hey, check out those pretty yellow irises!

Here is a photo of one tiny garlic head that I didn't have time to post yesterday for harvest Monday.

Here's another pic that I didn't have time to post yesterday, blueberries and strawberries.

Because the little pond in back was disturbed, and the critters seemed more interested in worms than unripe fruit, I suspect raccoons.

I’ll close on the positive note of how pretty the garden looks and how good my harvests taste. But as for my night visitors–this means war.

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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10 Responses to Night Visitors

  1. Oh, how frustrating. The struggle in the balance between nature and gardening…we know it well! These days, all of our ‘short’ crops (greens, onions, low-growing squash etc, and new transplants) all start out life under floating row covers. The greens usually stay under cover through to harvest. It’s the only way we’ve been able to stave off the early losses. Once the plants are big enough they can usually hold their own. I hope they don’t come back to ransack your garden again any time soon.

  2. Turling says:

    Would raising the beds help? I know a .22 would, but I think that’s frowned upon.

    • Hi Turling. Since the raccoons go easily over our 6 ft fence that surrounds the entire back yard, I don’t think raising the beds would make a difference. Besides, my beds are expensive recycled plastic-sawdust composites and not easily tampered with or modified. I’m thinking small thermonuclear device.

  3. michelle says:

    Oh I know how you feel, the battles with the critters just don’t seem to end. I’ve heard of mini electric fences that you can set up around an area where the critters like to dig, they’re supposed to work fairly well against raccoons.

    The garden is looking great in spite of the critters. Cute garlic and luscious berries!

    • Hi Michelle, maybe an electric cattle prod?

      Isn’t that garlic the tiniest little thing? And it turned out to be a mid-sized one. I harvested a half pound of garlic this week, my entire crop, and only one of them was a decent sized garlic. I had bought some garlic from China by mistake at the grocery, not realizing it was from China (I don’t trust their food). Instead of eating it, I tried to grow the cloves in my garden last year. Only one of the cloves made a bulb and instead of cooking with it, I just replanted the cloves this spring. I also planted some garlic from Gilroy CA, and got only marble-sized garlics from that. Still, I’m excited to grow ANY garlic. It all tastes good.

  4. Daphne says:

    I’m worried about the animals at the new house. I found out the other day that there is a groundhog living under my neighbor’s shed. It ran right through my back yard where the veggies will be next year. I need a really good fence.

  5. goodtogrow says:

    I recommend explosives.

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