Now I See It…Now I Don’t ~ The Elusive Gopher

I should have entitled this blog The First Hand Garden Pest Encyclopedia instead of Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme. Each year it seems that I am confronted with a new dilemma in the vegetable/flower patch. This year I thought I had covered all the bases…but what an elusive creature we are confronted with now…


Plains Pocket Gopher – Wikipedia

I bought two 4 packs of cabbages at our local family owned greenhouse thinking maybe this year…just maybe… I could once again try growing cabbages and succeed. My biggest problem growing them is those little tiny pesty worms.

I planted the 8 cabbages out in the first row in my garden and covered them with netting to prevent the little white moths from laying eggs that hatch those destructive worms. When the leaves grew and started to push mightily against the netting, I removed it, and there they were, 8 really nice leafy cabbage plants.

Then there were seven…

Then there were six…

We have been having a lot of rain here, so it was a couple of days that I didn’t go over to the garden and when I did I was shocked to see only 4 cabbages left and no sign of any intruder. No paw prints…no digging…no leaf parts lying around.

The next day it occurred to me…Could it be the elusive gopher???

I went immediately to the garden and took my shovel to probe in the dirt when I noticed there were only 3 cabbages left. With the shovel I found the hole and then the tunnel. I transplanted the remaining cabbage plants into pots where they would be safe, and then informed my husband who proceeded to look online for options on how to get rid of gophers.


IMG_5219Cabbage Plant Repotted

How to Get Rid of Gophers and Moles

Gophers will pull plants down into their tunnels. That’s why it looks like the plants completely disappear.

After reading the above linked article we opted for the granule method. We spread these castor oil granules sparingly around the garden area, and what I found this time was one of my tomato plants had disappeared.

Not having enough patience to wait for the granules to work, I started putting the hose down in holes that I could find to flood out the gophers.



I placed the hose in a little hole and than stood amazed as the water coming out full force from the hose just kept running…down…around…through…who knows where and finally started coming out of a small hole ten feet away in the lawn.

This is what our new project looks like right now. I will update you on  what happens next…


Oh, and I will also let you know about the snake eating eggs in the chicken coop. It’s not just the garden…


Making Bouquets with the Ancient One…

Summer is here…and where I have been?  Spending a lot of time with my mom who we just moved into a little sweet house next door to us. Life is different here, but already I see the beauty and blessing of looking at nature through the eyes of one who perceives everything in the moment…

Everything is new every day…every hour…every flower is seen for the first time in all its wonder.

My mom picks wildflowers and makes gorgeous new bouquets every day.  And I make bouquets from the flowers I have growing in my yard…




Loving my new hydrangea…


I haven’t posted anything about my chickens for awhile, but they all are fine, and Darcy has turn out to be a very fine rooster who takes good care of the  8 laying hens… 6 black Marans and 2 Ameraucanas…

The tomatoes have grown quite a bit and seem extremely healthy…


As far as the Oxheart Tomato Experiment goes, we’ve got a tomato that just needs to ripen and perhaps it will be a winner???


Hope you all are having a wonderful summer…I know I am. 🙂

Oatgrass and Wisteria and Lamb’s Quarters

Love the way this oatgrass is looking in this large blue ceramic planter…


And the wisteria I planted last year is blooming…


We planted 52 tomato plants  the day before yesterday. More than we have ever planted before, but we still are lacking rain. Perhaps a thunderstorm tonight. I sure hope so. 🙂


Has anyone tried Lamb’s Quarters?


We have a huge patch, and this is an incredible food that tastes something like spinach. You can eat it in salads or cook it, just like you would spinach. It’s actually better than spinach in my opinion.

Instead of writing about it myself, I’ll link you to a blog with more facts about this incredible weed/food… The Prairie Homestead

Bon appetit  🙂


Starting from Scratch…

That’s what it feels like this year. Everything died in the hoop house during the frigid December freezes, and I’ve had a cold/flu for a month, so I haven’t felt like doing anything, but I’m better and things are getting rolling around here…thanks to my gardener daughter Anna. 🙂

She roto-tilled in the clover cover crop on this new plot near the hoop house…


And planted these seeds from the Natural Gardening Company


Lettuces, spinach, chard, bok choi, beets… can’t wait!!!  I thought the seed prices were very reasonable. We’ll see how they perform.

I soaked the beet seeds overnight. Something that was suggested on the seed packet that I’ve never done before, but according to them it will boost the germination.


While Anna did all the hard work, I busied myself starting seeds in flats…

3I have several different heirloom tomato varieties that I bought at a Farmer’s Market in Holland, Michigan, and saved the seeds, and I have my special Down to Earth Digs seeds bought from Stacey on Etsy


Last year we began to convert our large back yard into something productive, a large strawberry bed with 2 fruit trees.  We had a pretty good harvest of strawberries, and an overwhelming abundance of  cucumbers that I planted under the baby trees. Now we’ve added a new garden space in our back yard. You can see it  in the distance…


It really feels a lot like starting all over again from scratch, and everything looks so brown and drab and dreary.

Thank you to Tera, who bought me the beautiful Freesia featured at the top of the post. 🙂 How bright and beautiful, a reminder that soon, very soon there will be color in our gardens again.

Oh…and I did keep the rooster, and I’m calling him Darcy. Thanks to vuchickens for the great suggestion. 😉

Joy Comes in the Morning

I am so glad I have chickens!!!  My morning is just overflowing with joy…It is 19 degrees outside with an inch of snow covering the landscape. Who would venture out into this??? Me…little old me…because I have to take care of the chickens. And I got to see the sun coming up over the horizon lighting up the snow in millions of  glistening diamonds. And then I saw it…diamonds falling from the sky, brilliant tiny crystals swept by the wind and lit up by the rising sun. Absolutely glorious and all I could think of was a resounding Hallelujah…

Joy … my almost 3 year old grandson spent the night with us a week ago. He slept upstairs in my daughter’s room, and of course they were the first ones up in the morning. She brought him downstairs and stoked up the fire in the woodstove and cuddled with him on the couch watching the fire, and he said with childlike joy, ” It’s a beautiful day! Look at the blue sky! I am your friend!”

Then I wandered sleepily out of  my room ready for my morning coffee, and he ran up to me arms outstretched, so excited, “Moka*, come see the fire!!!” Joy in the morning…we need more joy in the morning. We need more joy all the time! Childlike joy!

*He calls me Moka… a great name for me Mom/Karin  and it doesn’t confuse me with the other grandmas. 🙂

So, who doesn’t love seed catalogs?  I received one in the mail the other day I had never seen before, and they are doing a unique thing that I thought I would share…

The Natural Gardening Company


They are doing a test of one of their tomatoes, the Oxheart tomato, to discover which part of the country has the best tomato growing climate. Whoever has the first ripe Oxheart tomato will receive a $100 gift certificate. I might just try this… You’ll love the catalog and you can get one online here.


I also want to share, in case anyone is not following her, Down To Earth Digs is featured in Country Garden magazine this month, and her beautiful garden is on the cover! I’m so excited for Stacey!!!



Saving Tomato Seeds

I bought 5 beautiful specimens of organic heirloom tomatoes at a Farmer’s Market in Holland, Michigan in hopes of saving the seeds for my tomato garden next year…



Here then are my finished seed packets labeled with the pictures I took of each tomato,   because I forgot the names the farmer had told me. Not very scientifical is it ??? 🙂

I do know that the Cherry Cherokee Purple tomato was his own experiment. So that should be interesting…


The following video from Seattle Seedling gave me all the info I needed to save my own seeds…

On a side note, aren’t these beautiful tomato posters ?


Heirloom_Tomatoes.jpg 82kb Botanical Posters

I love tomatoes, and I have to say my favorite is the little cherry Sweet One Hundreds. What’s yours?