Guest Post by Beau
In the last post I talked about building square foot gardens on the deck. I was able to find a little room on the ground to build a couple more square foot gardening boxes as well. The only caveat with these was they would have to be 1′ x 3′ due to space limitations. The previous owner left some trex board pieces laying around. Hey, free wood – use it! An additional plus there is a half barrel that I had last year; which grew a tomato plant in and a big plastic pot waiting for dirt.
This isn’t a story of what a tremendous crop I reaped, but rather one on the pitfalls of gardening. Everything was coming along great… 3 nice tomato plants, 3 nice pepper plants, the pot held 4 broccoli plants and the tub 4 cauliflower plants. We were getting plenty of rain so I didn’t need to water every day and when I checked on them they were doing fine. Then…
What the heck happened? The first thing I thought was deer. But I have never had deer go after tomato plants and the 2 tubs had a wire cage around them that would have made it difficult for them to get to the plants. About a day later I found the culprit…. a groundhog had caused all that destruction. Now what? Honestly, not really sure if the neighbors would like me sitting around with a gun in my backyard waiting for the animal to show up. And that’s not my style anyway. I only hunt animals that I intend to eat. I decided to get a live cage and bait it. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Read my full disclosure policy here for more details. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I decided to make one myself. I had a dog cage years ago that I purchased to protect my chickens but I didn’t think I would need anything that big. I actually found a rabbit trap at a yard sale at one time. But, I have never made a rabbit cage. What the heck, let’s give it a whirl and if it can catch a rabbit, surely it will catch a groundhog.
Saying I have never made a rabbit cage isn’t entirely true. I remember when I was young (old person story here), my brother, another friend and I went rabbit hunting. We took a big box, some string, and carrots (bunnies like carrots right) to an area of woods in the front of the subdivision where my friend had seen some rabbits earlier that week. We found a little stick then tied the rope to it. We then propped the box up and threw the carrots in for the bait. We then waited for the rabbit to show up so we could catch him. Being normal 8 year olds, it didn’t take long before boredom kicked in. Now this would have been the logical conclusion of this story. BUT…
My friend came to school about 3 days later and his arm was all bandaged up. Naturally, I figured he took a tumble on his bike. No. Apparently my friend was determined to show off his hunting prowess. He had gone back to the box with a longer string and waited for a rabbit. Sure enough, it worked a rabbit went in for the bait, he pulled the string and rabbit was trapped. Again, being 8 year olds from the suburbs of Atlanta at the time, we really knew nothing of wild animals. Besides aren’t all rabbits cute and cuddly, just waiting for a human to pick them up. We really didn’t have a plan once we caught the rabbit, at least I didn’t. My buddy decided he was going to reach in, grab the rabbit, turn the box over, put the rabbit in the box and poof – instant pet. Well, apparently wild animals don’t like to be picked up and cuddled, hence the bandages. Who knew rabbits could scratch with long nails?
With this in mind all these years later, I was going to make a different kind of box.
Let’s face it, we all do the same thing in today’s world. When we don’t know how to do something, we go research it on the internet. I figured I would see what others had made. Yes, I admit that I am one of those guys that doesn’t always read or follow the directions so I figured I will just get to it, there are other projects waiting. I cut all the pieces: 4 pieces for the depth 22” long, 6 pieces for the height 10” long, a 2×3” 8 1/2” long for the fulcrum, piece of 1×2” 30” long to attach the door and dowel rod to, a 1/2” dowel rod 10” long. I used particle board because it was sitting around (cheap) and I don’t plan on keeping this contraption as a family heirloom. I cut the bottom 12” by 24,” the top 12” by 22,” and the door is 11 ½ ‘ by 13.” Put it together. I didn’t put sides on my box but instead used wire that had been around the plants and was strong ½ by ½ squares. (Truth I wanted to see what I caught. The other day I saw a family of 8 skunks come through my yard.) The hardest part was making a hole the right size for the dowel rod and the notch in the dowel to get the door open as much as possible. It took 2 dowel rods and 4 holes but it worked. Once I caught the animal I wanted him to stay in the trap, after all. I could imagine hitting a bump in the truck and the door coming open a bit. And me having a ground hog trying to get out of the back of my truck! So I attached a screw to be used to seal the door once said critter is caught. I also attached a couple of pieces of strap to carry this trap to the truck.
I put my trap out, threw in some green lettuce and waited. The first time it went off…Nothing. Then it sat for several days with still nothing, but my “new” plants weren’t being eaten either, thankfully. We had a couple of rains. I went to check it and found the wood had swollen the particle board around the dowel rod. I made a bigger hole.
I used my screw to seal the trap, grabbed the straps, and put the critter in the back of the truck for a quick drive in the country. I took him to my friend’s house a long ways away and let him out. Just kidding. However, I did drop him off far away in woods where he should live long and prosper.
Hopefully, my garden will also.
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