Spring is here! Everything is blooming and growing! Oh wait, why do I have dead tomato plants in my veggie beds? What happen to all three basil plants? Say it isn’t so! They went the same way as my beautiful fig tree and pixie mandarin tree! Roots gnawed and only the stems left? THE MOLE* IS BACK!
Last fall, I lost my two fruit trees to the mole, and I wasn’t able to capture him before winter. This spring, a surprising number of plants in the ground around the pond disappeared just after planting, and I actually saw the little sucker poking his head out afterwards!
Then came the worst part. He managed to dig through the wire-lined and gravel-filled veggie beds to tasty the succulent veggies growing there. I had enough! Time for more traps. If you’ve every tried to trap a mole, you’ll know you need two medieval-looking traps. The guy at the hardware store and I had some trouble figuring out how to even set them up, without getting caught in the ourselves! And why two traps? The mole typically has two pathways leading to his tasty bed of treats, and they are very sensitive to breaches of light or air into their burrow system. They will attempt to plug any sources of light or air entering the burrow system. Which is why you need to dig deep into their hole, and you’ll need to stake each trap with a long string, otherwise the traps will disappear underground.
After setting traps for several days, and losing more plants, I was very discouraged. The kids enjoyed “hunting for the mole” every evening, I excavated another long tunnel beneath the former resting place of a formerly health tomato plant, and stick the traps in deep. And hoped.
I didn’t check the traps for two days. I was really busy getting things together for Gabe’s party, and well, I just didn’t have the heart to see that it didn’t work again. Last night, I checked the lines, and they did seem to have moved. I started to pull them out, and one had the MOLE! It was clear he had expired a few days back. While I do feel bad to killing another living thing, I am not sad to see my veggie plants no longer molested. Now, fair warning to the round tailed ground squirrels who have moved into the front yard! I have a couple of Havahart traps for live relocation…but I’m not afraid anymore of using the other kind!
I enjoyed two fresh lovely cherry tomatoes from my garden this week. More are ripening. It’s good to have tomatoes again. And my gardening is just so lush now that no one is eating the roots of the plants. Yum!
*The MOLE is really a pocket gopher, as someone kindly pointed out on facebook. However, it just doesn’t have the same ring as THE MOLE, and the kids and I prefer to shout out “THE MOLE”. So there you have it.