• 70°
Hartselle Enquirer
Clif Knight

Varmints are taking over

By Clif Knight

Varmints are described as “troublesome and objectionable animals” in Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Without hesitation, I can add the word destructive to that description, based on several years of experience as a home gardener.

Four years ago, I stopped growing corn because raccoons found it and ate it before I had a chance to pick it for our own use. They would push down the stalks of the sweet corn as soon as the ears got ripe enough to pick and then attacked the field corn by climbing the stalks and riding them to the ground to get to their ears.

I decided we were better off buying corn for home use at farmers markets, rather than trying to grow it ourselves.

The problem was, we found it harder and harder to find the corn we wanted at the markets – so we took the chance of growing our own again this year.

Everything went according to plan until the corn reached the harvest stage.

We saw no sign of raccoons when we picked our first dozen ears. The next day, however, the corn looked like it had been hit by a tornado.

The corn on half the stalks was stripped clean.

The damage was done by squirrels, not raccoons.

What corn was left, we pulled and processed for the freezer.

Tomatoes, okra and cucumbers and green beans have also been victimized by varmints. Squirrels, birds and rodents have had their fill of ripe tomatoes, and the plants of okra and cucumbers have been decimated by a single deer that has adopted the backside of my five-acre wooded lot as his or her territory.

While I have never seen the deer, I can trace his movements by the imprints of his hoofs through the garden almost every day.

A rabbit or two are the latest unwelcome garden visitors. They are making hay of two rows of stuck green beans.

A pair of scarecrows can claim credit for saving two rows of late-planted field peas. Typically, they stand by and look on as peas are becoming plants, sprouting and breaking through the ground.

To view the tattered remains of damaged vegetable plants raises the question of why the gardener does so much of the work while the varmints sit back and watch until the harvest is ready?

Hartselle

Hartselle man guilty of rape of juvenile 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle Police Department looks to fill six positions  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

New manufacturing program at Hartselle, Limestone schools 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Home Sweet Hartselle mural painted on Sparkman Street

Hartselle

Hartselle woman named to Inno under 25 

Hartselle

Volunteers, sponsors needed for Stars Over Hollywood prom 

Hartselle

Crowd gathers for 41st annual Depot Days 

Decatur

A heart for the arts: Hartselle art program receives River Clay grant

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Chiropractor released after charge of poisoning wife back in jail  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan employees in line for 5 percent pay hike  

Hartselle

Chiropractor charged with poisoning wife released on bond 

Editor's picks

Hartselle homecoming kick-off showcases school spirit

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Depot Days returns Saturday  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Fitness Court unveiled at Sparkman Park  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle man allegedly poisoned wife with lead in murder attempt  

Hartselle

Crestline students enjoy third annual Ag Day

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Highway 36 reopens east of Hartselle 

At a Glance

Hartselle man eludes police, arrested on possession charges

Breaking News

Hartselle man arrested for attempted murder of wife

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

In the community: Highflying fun

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle City Schools second graders kick off civic education

News

Dairy production facility closures impact Alabama schools

MULTIMEDIA-FRONT PAGE

Brewer High consumer science class gets new kitchen after 50 years

News

In the community: Sunflowers and summertime

x