The big challenge in gardening for us is trying
to control gophers. Traps and cats have proved insufficient simply
due to the huge number of gophers attracted to the garden over the
course of a growing season.
The best trap I have used, shown below, is a black
plastic tube with a spring loaded garrote type mechanism. It's very
effective but not fool proof. There are smart gophers that stuff
it full of dirt and tunnel around it and that gopher can wreak significant
damage in an overnight eating binge.
We've come to the conclusion that raised beds with
the ends and sides extending below the surface to deter tunneling
and tall enough to keep rodents from climbing in is the way to go.
Our neighbor's cement beds.
The roll-up chicken wire and pole covering is to
keep their cats out after seeding in the spring and in the fall
to keep them out over the winter. Cats sees the beds as deluxe kitty
My neighbors are going to dedicate some of the beds
shown above to growing potatoes. We're convinced growing potatoes
as the major staple is the way to go. I believe potatoes produce
more per square foot than grain crops, are easier to harvest and
store reasonably well in a root cellar.
Local food: success is 100% possible
Dimitri Orlov a Russian emigre recounts the collapse of the Soviet
Union in 1989 and and how the people faired surprising well under
the circumstances and what that teaches us who possibly face a similar
event in the near future.
One of the major difference
between the two societies is that the
Soviets were used to having less. Making due by helping themselves
was a way of life. Successfully growing their own food was the big
key. They didn't worry about shortages at the local supermarkets
because they never had one to begin with.
"food was being produced in household plots,
and its figures were on the order of 90% of all the potatoes in
Russia, 80% of all the vegetables, 50% of the meat and milk etc."
"Russian households (inclusive of both urban
and rural) collectively grow 92% of country's potatoes on their
garden-plots, the size of which is typically 600 square meters [0.15
acres] for urban households, and typically no more than 2500 square
meters [0.62 acres] for rural households,"
"3/4 of gardening households were gardening
the equivalent of two suburban house lots. (At least based on the
typical house lots we have around here, which are 50-60 feet by
"Considering that Russia has just 110 days
of growing season per year, while most of America has much longer
growing season and significantly more sunshine, this is all quite
encouraging from the standpoint of what Americans and Canadians
could do with their tiny suburban house lots, assuming they all
learn to garden quickly enough."