A Scandia gardener believes he has encountered something very rare: a garlic-eating pocket gopher. The burrowing rodent left signature mounds as it feasted on 60 of the 600 heads he’d hoped to harvest.
“He got 10% of my garlic crop,” reported the gardener, who goes by The Little Shooter and is also variously known as BJ or JB.
Although he hasn’t encountered this particular problem with a gopher before and was hard-pressed to find another soul who had, The Little Shooter has some history with garlic mishaps.
He once planted 1,600 heads of garlic in a neighbor’s pasture, and later discovered that the field was full of poison ivy.
“That was God’s punishment for greed,” he said.
A second attempt was foiled by poor cultivation. And this time a pocket gopher nipped into his crop, leaving telltale dead stalks and prompting The Little Shooter to harvest the rest early. As he headed down the row, he noticed the gopher had also devoured the potato crop.
To all this decimation, there was a silver lining.
“I like buying from the local farmers, the people who really do this for a living,” he said. Now he has more reason to do so.
As of late August he hadn’t had any luck catching his elusive rival.
“It’s a summer gopher,” he said. “Do you know the difference? All the spring gophers, I caught. Summer gophers I can’t catch.
“But I’ve gotta get that gopher. If he teaches his kids that garlic is cool, then I’ll really have a problem.”
If he does catch it, The Little Shooter suggested he might prepare a feast of his own.
“After eating all that garlic, and with a little marinara, we thought it could be Italian gopher on Thanksgiving,” he said with a smile.