Vegetables groundhogs won't eat

mabeldingeldine_gwFebruary 10, 2009

Apologies if this has been covered, I can't seem to get the search engine to cooperate today.

I'd like to increase the size of my vegetable garden, but I have a significant groundhog problem. What vegetables can I safely move to a new bed outside the fence? Is there such a vegetable?

Thanks in advance,


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I don't know but a 30.06 seems to work decently. I was in the process of building a trap, the humanitarian that I am, when I cam home to discover Phi's relative had decided to munch on the largest cuke I had - real close to 18." I was still willing to spare him but when he decided to go after another one, he cold a nice steel jacket to his head.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 4:29PM
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Buy a large Havahart trap, then the question becomes "which vegetables are most delicious served with groundhog?"

I hear they like peaches as bait.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 5:47PM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

With plenty to choose from, groundhogs by me have NOT eaten tomatoes, peppers, and corn. However, if they ran out of other veggies I'm betting they might find them tasty, too.

Groundhogs can be a nightmare. I had about given up on gardening at one location I like until a bow hunter moved in next door. He probably isn't supposed to shot in this location, but he does it in a safe manner and has made it possible for me to garden there again. He first started shooting the 'hogs after his wife broke through into a tunnel and was stuck up to her thigh in the earth. Amazingly, she did not break her leg or damage joints or tendons.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 9:47PM
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Naturegirl, do your neighbors use the meat?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 10:13PM
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I had a relative who ate groundhog. He couldn't believe how much grease came from frying it. He got to the point he placed sticks in it so the grease would not covet the meat!


    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 10:26PM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Last year I was telling my co-worker about my woodchuck woes (I caught 12 with a havahart) and he told me about a guy who ate woodchucks. The trick was to take a bite of cooked woodchuck then quick drink some cold water so the grease congeals in your mouth. Eewwwwwwww.

In the fall, when my company said they were laying off 50% of my department, I kept thinking about all those woodchucks I'd relocated. Might have been better to keep them around :). Still, I'd have to be pretty desperate to eat woodchuck!

The trick to catching them is indeed peaches - the most expensive ripe peaches you can find (they ignored the non-organic ones). I also put two 2x6 boards on either side of the hole under my fence leading into the trap and placed chicken wire around the whole thing. They could come into the garden, but only through the trap.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 11:21PM
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Better break out the George Foreman Grill. The fat just runs right off.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 12:09AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I have a recipe or two, but I figure I'll wait 'till I'm desperate.

The majority of the groundhogs snacking on my garden come from an extensive warren located on my neighbors' overgrown lots. I live in a small village with not much hope of giving the transgressors lead poisoning. I have caught many in my Haveaheart trap, but still they come, like the Viking hordes.

The fence has been my most successful strategy --more effective than the dog, the row covers, the trap, the smokebombs, etc. Still, I'm hoping someone can answer my original question so that I can expand my garden.

How about pumpkins? Cucumbers? Tomatoes? Chile Peppers? Surely, they won't eat everything?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 8:38AM
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bumble_doodle(Z5 CT)

Our woodchuck is quite spoiled - for the past 3 years his summer home has been fully equipped with a well stocked salad bar. Of course the 'salad bar' is my veggie garden and his 'summer home' is a 5" high space under the shed. So much for that plastic 'animal proof' netting - this year we're replacing it with metal/wire. Although, it is quite amusing to watch him stuff his well-endowed, late-summer rear end through a 5" space.....

Back on topic. Mabeldingeldine, I grew mostly in containers with a few tomatoes and bell peppers in the ground. I found the woodchuck thoroughly enjoyed: zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes (only when they were just about ripe and ready to be picked), and carrot greens.

The woodchuck left alone: leeks, jalepeno peppers, hot cherry peppers, bell peppers, potatoes, onions and carrot roots.

Hope this helps and good luck with the 'chucks this year!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 9:38AM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Hi Mabel,

My woodchucks had plenty to choose from, so I don't know if my uneaten vegetables were ones they avoid or just low on the list.

They destroyed: peas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts (really, all the cole crops), lettuce, cucumber seedlings.

They left alone: onions, parsnip leaves/root, hot peppers, bell peppers, spinach (although, I've heard other people have had them eat it), garlic, tomatillos

I don't think they found the tomatoes or zucchini (too many beans to eat first)

Hope this helps you pick something!

What was your fencing solution? I love to hear about something which works! I'm considering a foot deep underground barrier topped with electric wire.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 11:27AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

In my experience woodchucks will eat anything. They start with their favorites first, then work on down their list of preferences. Any plant not cultivated by a gardener is their last choice.

Fence doesn't need to by buried straight down for the entire foot. It can be buried a few inches down then turned outward. That's less digging and it is effective. A woodchuck will find the smallest gap though.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 1:25PM
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I had numerous break-ins in the early days. A chain link fence with an electric wire 6 inches from the top put a complete stop to that. The wire leaves lasting memories. I now keep the gate open all the time and the wire has been disconnected for years. I did have a deer break- in last year. Usually, connecting the wire again for a few days will give you another two years or so of peace. I saw once a deer touch the live wire, and the way it jumped straight in the air and took the other 6 with her in a mad flight, clearly they teach themselves a few things.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 7:08PM
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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

glib, was that 120 volts or 24 volt juice?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 8:30PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

If you want to electrify a fence, buy a fence charger from a farm supply store. **Do NOT improvise with 120 volt house current.** A fence charger provides pulses of high voltage, low amperage electricity which is not dangerous but gives a scary jolt. The fence wire must be mounted on insulators, also available from the farm store.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 9:14PM
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steve22802(7a VA)

You might be able to out smart ground hogs by using trellised crops and just protecting the base of the vines. The vines may not even need protection if the fruit of the vine is out of reach. You could easily grow cucumbers, pole beans, squash, and small melons on trellises. Ripe melons can have a strong aroma though and a really hungry wily ground hog may try to pull the vines down to reach the melons. I actually grew full size cantaloupe on a trellis once to save space but you do have to support each melon with a mesh bag tied to the top of the trellis.

You might be able to use the same trick with tomatoes but you'd need to do some aggressive pruning early in the season to channel the plant's energy into making an extra long vine

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 10:30PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"The vines may not even need protection if the fruit of the vine is out of reach."

They won't wait for the fruit. They will eat young bean plants right to ground level before they have a chance to bloom.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 10:46PM
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francescod(6b/7a VA)

Ground hogs can climb. I've seen them in Mulberry trees, and they climb up on my benches to help themselves to lettuce and cole crops.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 10:52PM
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As jimster says. Buy a unit, do not kill yourself. Basically, you have a unit that goes in the plug (mine is in the garage, 7ft up a wall), and two outputs, one to ground, the other to a live, insulated wire (buy at Lowe or Home Depot). I put up a couple of posts behind the garage, so the wire going to the garden is 8 ft in the air. It comes down to the left of the gate, and then the live, naked wire goes around the fence to the right side of the gate.

The unit was 20 dollars in 1998. While at the farm store, buy plastic wire supports that clamp onto a link in the fence, and the naked wire (I had to buy a 1000 ft roll, but eventually I used more than half of it). Best to use sturdy supports, every 6 feet. A deer mangled my first setup so bad, I had to buy new clamps and use new wire. I also tested it with my own hand, thumb on wire, pinky on chain link. It is painful but not dangerous.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 10:53PM
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Trapping & relocating? Bring them to my ex's house

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 8:54PM
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