Many of my onions were being attacked at the roots and the entire bottom of the bulb was being eaten. The gophers only seemed to be interested in the onions, so for the sake of my other plants, I didn’t harvest the onions, fearing that if the gophers no longer had onions, they would begin to attack my other plants. Well, it seems that it is too late for this sort of thought, as this morning I discovered that they had gotten to one of my beefsteak tomato plants. A neighborhood gardener recently told me that her eggplant and tomato roots were eaten by gophers. At first, I was reluctant to accept that the culprit was a gopher, but now I definitely believe her. I decided to head down to a nearby Starbucks Coffee and ask for their coffee grounds at the end of the day. I came home with a 20 pound bag full of the stuff. I sprinkled a healthy amount of grounds in every single planting bed and mixed it into the soil. I really like the smell of coffee, but not so much anymore, as when I enter my garden, I get a massive sensory overload. I already can’t stand the odor, but animals have a much stronger sense of smell than humans, so I can’t even imagine what they feel. So, coffee grounds in the garden is always a good idea for keeping pests out; they also serve as a great fertilizer! One of the three essential elements in a garden, referred to as NPK, is Nitrogen; the other two are phosphorus and potassium. Adding any organic material to your soil is always a good idea, but coffee grounds in particular improve drainage, water retention, and aeration in the soil. Additionally, since the grounds are acidic, they will lower the pH of the soil. Before you freak at the idea of increasing your soil’s acidity, most plants thrive in slightly acidic conditions, so not to worry.
It was finally time to harvest all the onions, which I planted back in October of 2016. Today I harvested both patches of onions and this revealed the gophers’ underground network. In fact, I walked into the garden and could actually see dirt being kicked up by a gopher who was digging into the ground. Unfortunately, it was too fast for me to photograph. If you look at the picture above, you can see the massive hole I dug in my attempt to find the gophers underneath the onion patch. Unfortunately, nature has spent millennia giving these rodents uncanny digging abilities, and left humans with thumbs which are of no use. To ensure that there weren’t any remaining gophers, I stomped around the area from which the onions had been pulled like the Hulk for about five minutes. Hopefully the coffee grounds will do the trick and I won’t have to make a fool out of myself again.