Last year, I laid down chicken wire/stucco netting and mulch to keep gophers from wrecking my raised row garden. Although the chicken wire and mulch remain a good deterrent for gophers in terms of the specific square or rectangular areas involved, the rest of my back yard was not covered by chicken wire so, like a bunch of hooligans, gophers dug up holes in other parts of the garden, got to the raised row garden areas, and tore up a bit of some of the rows of soil (which have seedlings in them). Really, it’s like the aftermath of a college party. Punks.
Fortunately, I had quite a bit of chicken wire left over from last year’s project. I put in some shepherd’s hooks into the ground around the raised row garden areas (each area had one shepherd’s hook put in each of its four points). I then wrapped the chicken wire around each hook to make a rudimentary open-air cage. They can easily unwrap for me to harvest crops and light maintenance. When I ran out of chicken wire, I finally, at long last, brought out of my garage, a very old screen door that came with my house nearly 16 years ago when I bought it. I kept in storage all this time with the thought that it might be re-used for a project some day. That day is today! (I have two old wood doors in the garage also – still trying to think up ways to re-use them, too!)
The hooks are 4 feet tall; the chicken wire is 3 feet tall. I’ve read the gophers can climb a height of at least 1 foot, so my plan and hope is that, like some athletes, although strong, even they have limits in their upper body strength and give up after the first foot. I also had the wire be not too taught with the idea that if their upper body strength for climbing is not too good, then the swaying and movement of the chicken wire during any attempted climbing will freak them out and frustrate them enough to make them go away. They may be good diggers but they may not be very good at climbing that high.
In other words, I am using a plan that takes advantage of their (hopefully) limited ability to climb and their fear of falling down from a relatively great height. On the bright side, I can put hanging baskets later in the season to enjoy. The chicken wire and shepherd’s hooks give visiting birds more areas to perch and enjoy the yard!