Daffodils as Gopher Prevention

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This past weekend we stayed home. I even wrote it very large on the calender, “busy on the homestead” across both Saturday and Sunday. Starting with September our calender and going through to December now our calender is full, full, full! It’s a great thing, but our poor garden is getting neglected. This weekend we set our sights on harvesting the last of the walnuts (6 grocery bags full!), tearing out old plants, turning the enormous compost pile and getting this above bed ready for next years bounty. Just a few months ago it looked like this below:
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This past weekend we tore it all out. We had had a problem with gophers in this bed after trying an experiment of laying down black plastic for weed control. The black plastic seemed to attract the gophers even more. Having read that narcissus bulbs are toxic to gophers and seeing that our narcissus needed dividing I set it upon myself to outline each of our beds with bulbs. We have an area at the top of our property that has about four or five 15 foot long rows of various daffodils and narcissus. They are just gorgeous when in bloom but I noticed this last year their performance had dwindled. They badly needed dividing. In fact just 10 shovels worth yielded me a bucketful of bulbs.
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It’s such a huge bed, I didn’t think I’d actually make it around the entire thing in one day, but I did! I have the sore muscles and calluses to prove it too. In addition to being toxic to gophers, narcissus bulbs make a good weed barrier (like the naked ladies). They come up in late winter and form a wall of sorts which make it hard for that early round of weeds to break through. In the spot where this garden bed is, we need all the help we can get in that area!
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Ever since reading Gaia’s Garden, I’ve opened up even more to the idea of where and how I plant our plants. For instance I’ve lined my flower bed with amaryllis bulbs to prevent weeds from encroaching. Then in front of the bulbs I planted thick growing yarrow as extra protection against the wild field behind them moving in. Favas are growing in the middle of the beds to prepare the soil for next years flowers. And now our largest veggie bed is lined with a wall to prevent gophers and will also soon be filled in with cover crop.

Though we don’t have a robust winter garden planted this year, we are doing extra homework in getting the garden ready for next year. It’s making me already look forward to next spring.

5 Comments

Filed under Flowers, notes for next year, what we've learned

5 responses to “Daffodils as Gopher Prevention

  1. Colleen

    I would love to hear about your experience with narcissus preventing gophers. Taking a page from Gaia’s Garden I have planted a bunch around our fruit trees, but I noticed that the gopher holes were BELOW the 6″ depth recommended for planting, so I am wondering how does this work?

  2. How did the narcissus bulb experiment with the gophers go? We are desperate for a solution around our chicken coop.

    • asonomagarden

      Hi Christy, you know because of our drought the bulbs didn’t bloom as they should have in spring, and there is one gopher mound in the middle of the bed. My thought is that a number of bulbs died in the dry winter and either the gophers got through in those bare spots or it just didn’t work at all. Next year we should know, I’m adding more bulbs to the area and *fingers crossed* we’ll get more rain this winter. Sorry to hear about the gophers in your coop? We have a ton of holes in ours, but they are from rats. Ick!

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