My biggest gardening challenge is competing with gophers. I probably have moles and voles as well. When I asked for help with my gopher problem, here were some recommends from experienced gardeners:
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGTh0gH0Yw0 – Nov 18, 2008 – Setting the Gophinator Gopher trap –
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Epe4DXA1yow&feature=colike – Gopher Trap–Basic Gopher Trapping Techniques – dead gophers are shown in this video
- http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74115.html – pest notes
- My friend says he uses a snap trap (I forgot the exact name). He looks for a fresh hole, then 1) digs into it about a foot, 2) gently buries the trap at the junction between two holes. He has fencing all around his garden. It hasn’t deterred gophers from getting in. I was also told that I only need to trap 6-8 gophers to wipe them out until a new family establishes itself.
- Another friend said to bury the dead gopher in the hole it was caught in to discourage other gophers from moving in.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brr4g5QS1J4&feature=endscreen – This is just a close up video of a mole. It is safe for my child to watch. When I find a vole and gopher video that is child-safe, I add them to this list.
After all the usual answers were discussed, someone asked if gophers were edible. The answer is yes. My father and brothers were all into hunting, trapping, eating what they caught, and selling pelts. I have zero interested in eating gophers, even though they eat a vegetarian diet and I have experience with with skinning. In case you are interested, here are some recipes:
Squirrel Pot Pie
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter
Rounds of biscuit crust
1 chopped onion
Skin, dress, draw, and clean squirrels. Disjoint. Roll in flour. Melt 2 tablespoon butter in saucepan. Saute squirrel until brown. Add 1 quart boiling water, onion, salt, and pepper. Cover and let simmer 1 hour. Lay rounds of crust on squirrel. boil, remove and serve. http://www.brunswickstewmasters.com/History.htm – Brunswick Stew from Brunswick County, Virginia – squirrel stew
1 gopher, skinned and cleaned
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup green pepper
1/2 tbsp minced parsley
1 tbsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 1/2 tbsp. flour
3 cups broth
Cut gopher into 2 or 3 pieces. Boil for 1 hour. Remove meat from bones in large pieces. Add onion, green pepper, parsley, salt, pepper, and flour to the broth and stir until it thickens. If the broth does not measure 3 cups, add water. Add the meat to the broth mixture and stir thoroughly.
Pour into baking dish. Roll only enough to make it fit the dish. Place dough on top of meat, put in a hot oven (400 degrees F.) and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until dough is browned. Serves 6-8.
Another member of the online discussion group said, “Gopher FUR used to be a valuable commodity. The fur is very soft and thick. It doesn’t lay in one direction like most furs, but is multi-directional and especially desirable as hats and hood and underclothes. Same goes for Ground Squirrels. They have nice warm soft fur. One of the prized possessions of the Tundra Tribes was a blanket of woven squirrel pelts. Often given as a wedding present. Lots and lots of value in our local unliked varmints.
Sounds just like my favorite scene out of “Oh Brother Where art Thou”. I do have a recipe for squirrel pot pie. My friend Naomi gave it to me. We are always joking that the sustainable thing to do would be to eat them, since we’re fattening them up with our gardens.”