Gophers range in length from 6 to 12 inches with a thick body and small eyes and ears. Their sense of smell is excellent. Once gophers arrive in your Heirloom / Open Pollinated Vegetable Garden, they can make a big mess in a really short amount of time. Gophers range from West Indiana to the Pacific Coast.
Gophers push soil out of their holes, creating distinctive mounds on the surface of the garden. After digging a mound, or several mounds in one day, they may close up the entrance hole with a soil plug. Gopher tunnels are about 2 inches in diameter and follow no pattern. They will run from a few inches to 2 feet below the Garden surface. You know you have gophers when you find these mounds in your Heirloom / Open Pollinated Vegetable Garden and plants simply disappear. One morning you’ll look out and find that a gopher has yanked your Heirloom / Open Pollinated Vegetable Garden plants down into the ground.
Gophers eat the underground parts of Heirloom / Open Pollinated Vegetable Garden crops and seeds. A sure way to drive this pest away is to determine the location of all the entrances to its tunnel system and then fumigate. To fumigate you can get out your lawn mower and a piece of hose. Once you identify all the entrances to the tunnel system, you have several choices. You can seal them with piles of soil and blow exhaust from the power mower into the tunnel, killing the inhabitants with poisonous carbon monoxide fumes, or you can put sulfur into the holes and seal all the entrances. The cheapest source of sulfur is one of the emergency highway flares that come with auto safety kits. Cut the flare open and dump the contents of the flare into the hole. Then cover up all the holes to there tunnel system and wait for them to leave. When they leave cover up the hole they came out of securely so they cant get back in.
Our land has sandy soil so I stuck a garden hose in the hole. The tunnel collapsed because of the wet soil and the gopher came shooting out of the hole. Then I rototilled that spot to really destroy the entrance. This sounds like a good idea, but for the rest of the summer I had a homeless gopher starting random holes in my garden.