Houston, we have a problem…

No, this is no Apollo 13, but it’s close enough. The gopher has, unfortunately, struck once more. The two pictures above show that every single one of our okra plants have been damaged. All of the leaves from every single one have been completely eaten off and now the planting beds look like the forests that the Fellowship of the Ring had to make their way through. Ghastly! This carries with it a couple of implications and theories:

  1. Initially, spreading coffee grounds into the planting beds seemed to work; the beds with coffee grounds were not being attacked while the beds without were being eaten up. However, it seems that new coffee grounds must be spread into the dirt every week or so. The reason coffee helps is due to its smell and acidity, but as you pour more and more water onto the coffee, the odor lapses and the grounds reach a more neutral pH of 6.5, meaning its potency has essentially vanished. It seems that I will have to make Starbucks runs a more routine part of the week. I was hoping it would never come to this; Pete’s Coffee is better.
  2. When I see holes in leaves, or even a leaf that has been entirely devoured, the first thing in my mind is “SNAILS!!!”. Generally, little holes in the leaves is a clear sign of snails. To deal with this problem, it is a good idea to place a bowl of salt water near the site of the attack. The smell attracts the snails and once they fall in, the salt “handles the situation.” But, two beds underwent the same problem and they were both on opposite sides of the garden. There is no way that a few snails, in the span of a couple days, could eat every single leaf off of every single okra plant, traverse the entire garden, and eat every single lead off of every single okra plant. It was then that I spotted a large hole (picture at the right) dug by a gopher. So yes, it has returned, merciless and without sympathy.
  3. I am curious as to why it chose the okra specifically, as it just ate the leaves and the plants hadn’t begun producing vegetables yet. There was a decently sized eggplant plant next to it with a few large vegetables on it, yet they went untouched. Back when the gopher ate exclusively onions, and the roots specifically, not the actual bulb, I used to think that it only enjoyed root plants, but now it has come above ground and eaten the leaves of a plant that hasn’t yet flowered. Very strange.

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