1,2,3,4, I Declare A Garden War!

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Currently, I am trying to intimidate the garden rodents through brute force. (Is it working, you might ask? It appears not. . .)

Wow! This week has brought so much DRAMA to the garden! Beauties are blooming, the plants are growing taller than I am, there was a second round of staking, and I warred fiercely with mystery rodents. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Step aside Mr. McGregor…Mary Rose is on it!

When I was little, I LOVED Peter Rabbit. Love may be an understatement- I had a Peter Rabbit Blanket, the Peter Rabbit books, everything. I hated his arch-nemesis, that mean old selfish vegetable gardener Mr. McGregor. I mean, all poor sweet Peter Rabbit wanted to do was munch on some veggies!

Oh how things change! If I could call Mr. McGregor up right now and beg for some organic pest and rodent management advice, I would. Though if memory serves, he isn’t the friendliest, and he’d probably just tell me to bake my pest into a pie, so maybe it’s for the best that he’s fictional and too much of a hermit to take my calls.

This week, I really started noticing big holes and tunnels in the garden. And by “started noticing,” I mean I tripped in them repeatedly until I couldn’t ignore them anymore.

Last semester, we had a problem with rats in our compost bins, but these holes look a bit big for rats, and out rat trap is empty. So we either have some really big rats, some really small woodchucks, or something else. Whatever it is, I want it gone!

Ready the Mud Cannons

By talking to different folks this week, the main advice I’ve gotten is to trap the possible Woodchuck/mystery pest (as there’s been no sighting, it’s unclear what it is) and shoot it. Though I appreciate the advice, I’m not going to take that route.

Instead, I’m going with harassment. (See: Me, shaking my fist ultra-menacingly at the burrow). Different smells drive rodents crazy, especially smells of predators. I’m asking all of my friends, coworkers, and volunteers, to donate some smelly, used cat litter (very gross, yes, but the rodents think so too!) to bury in the burrows and hopefully flush the rodents out.

In the meantime, I spent a good amount of time yesterday filling every single hole with sticks and leaves, packing them tightly, and then capping them with a thick layer of mud.

First I filled the holes with sticks and leaves, stuffed in with a long stick until compact, then I stirred up a nice mixture of mud. It was quite a throwback to my days of making mud pies.

It’s a family recipe.

After stirring up the mud, I packed it tightly over the leaf-filled burrows.

This serves a few purposes. For one, it might be enough to annoy the woodchucks/rats/rodents of unusual size/??? that they pack up and move out. Probably not, especially if they’re as well established as I fear they are, but it’s possible.

Also, it’ll hopefully prevent me and others who are walking around the garden from falling or tripping because of the holes. Moreover, on a diagnostic level, it will let me know what is still active and where when I check back tomorrow and see what has been disturbed.

Growing Greenery

Those mystery rodents can’t keep us down! With all of the summer sun, the garden’s plants are thriving at the moment. From Marigolds to Tomatoes, our babies are blooming!


It’s been so fun to watch the Marigolds grow, I remember planting them from seed awhile back and now they’re blooming away.

Besides being beautiful, Marigolds are known for repelling insects and  for their value in tea, adding color to salads, and even making syrup.


I spent a long time this week re-staking all of the tomatoes! They’ve grown SO FAST, they outgrew all their stakes.

Luckily, I found some really tall metal stakes in the back. Unluckily, I am not very tall and do not have a mallet. However, by standing on a carefully constructed tower of garden stones I was able to hammer those stakes into the ground (using another garden stone).

The Tools of the Trade: Garden Stones and Twist Ties

In the end, I got all of the stakes in the ground and only a few stares from confused onlookers. At this point, I welcome the attention with a smile and an armful of fresh herbs!


Our sunflowers are growing so quickly! I swear they grew more than a foot in the span of two days, and I have the selfies to prove it (And one actual picture!). They’re officially taller than I am now.


The lavender is attracting so many bees, it’s wonderful!

I can’t BEElieve how great this lavender is at attracting pollinators



Our bell pepper has its first fruit, I’m ecstatic! This is just the beginning.



Summer Workday Times

One more thing before I go. . . our summer workday times are official. Join me on Thursdays from 5pm to 7pm and/or on Saturdays from 3pm to 5pm for the Community Garden’s Summer workdays to get your hands dirty and take home some fresh, local, organic produce! Pretty soon I’m going to have more cucumbers and tomatoes than I’ll know what to do with, and I’d love to have some company.

All in all, it’s been a wild week in the garden. I could go on, but I have to take a break from typing to research how much Wood I would need to chuck at a Woodchuck to make it leave the garden in peace!

Hope to see you soon,

Mary Rose




7 thoughts on “1,2,3,4, I Declare A Garden War!

  1. RnSwansong

    Snares work well for burrowing pests, every garden should have some good snares, also I hear cayenne pepper keeps them away and also doesn’t kill them like snares will.

  2. Kristensgarden

    Great update! I really enjoy your writing. Dried blood is a good deterrent for the swirled and deer that show up so the smell may work on rodents. I sprinkle it in a border around my vegetables.

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