We’ve recently created a gopher proof garden. We started with planter boxes and pots that sit on and around our patio, and have since expanded.
Container gardens are an ideal way to create a gopher proof garden when space is a consideration, and great for anything from flowers to assorted veggies and even some small trees. You can use small pots, planter boxes, buckets and bins, and expand as you go without the worry of gophers uprooting and destroying your garden.
At right: Blueberry bushes from our local nursery, planted in medium plastic pots. Blueberries grow well in containers and favor moist soil and lot’s of sunlight.
Create a Gopher Proof Wire Barrier
Our tiny garden is doing so well, that we’ve decided to expand and have built a moderate sized 6′ x 6′ wooden planter box that sits on the ground. Since we built this from scratch, it allowed us to build in a wire mesh barrier that will prevent gophers from getting into the veggies.
We recommend using a heavier gauge and tighter weave than standard “chicken wire” like the 19 gauge 1/2″ mesh Hardware Cloth pictured at the right for creating a gopher proof garden planter box.
Your local nursery may also carry wire mesh baskets that you can place into a larger hole and then plant inside of. When galvanized these wire baskets can last 6-10 years in the soil and provide good protection for plants and roots.
Straw Bale Gardening
Straw bales can be used as a unique and inexpensive alternative to building raised planter boxes with wire mesh on the bottom. Straw bales are both the container, and the growing media as there is no soil required! The straw bale provides an elevated and modular platform in which you can plant vegetables or even flowers. Straw bale gardening requires very little space, yet the straw retains heat and moisture while resisting weeds and common pests like pocket gophers.
Sometimes the best defense comes from a willing volunteer. On many occasions I’ve spotted a neighborhood cat crouched patiently waiting at an open gopher mound. If you live in an area with owls, consider building or purchasing an owl box. Getting an owl to nest in close proximity to your garden will help your cause and likely greatly reduce your need for setting gopher traps.