Yes, another possum post. I keep thinking I know everything the possum will do, what it will eat, and where I can expect my possum-losses to accumulate. I keep being surprised at how many ways my possum can eat me out of house and home (or garden, anyway).
No point in belabouring my latest losses. Here they are for all the world to see.
First, my largest sunflower head which I’d cleverly “protected” with a bag so I could harvest the seeds before the parrots did. I wonder if the possum learned from his avocado experience that a bag in the garden means something tasty inside.
Then, my sweet corn. It’s my late harvest. The good news is there are no nasty worms eating out the silk – obviously those moths/butterflies/creepy-crawlies have already done their pupating. The bad news is the cobs are smaller and less plentiful than my earlier crop. Or I thought that was the bad news until I found 3 ears, on the stalk, peeled and decidedly lacking in kernels.
I really do love my possum(s) – and one day I won’t be shocked by how clever he is (they are) at finding the most tasty stuff in my garden. Just not today.
Perhaps if they weren’t so cute you could get angrier at them?
I think you might be right, my cross to bear is cute garden thieves!
Feeding the natives is all very good, Laura, but brushtail possums are something else. They destroy your veggies even before they have had a chance to grow. They definitely look cute, but then they spend most of their waking hours fiercely fighting amongst themselves. My wife has fallen for their cuteness and feeds them at the front of the house while I attempt to grow a vegetable garden at the back.
Every autumn, when there are few tender leaves on the trees in our area, possums come down to the ground to forage. Then no matter what I try to deter them, they destroy my leafy greens. It’s heartbreaking!
This season when those destructive devils had again started to wreak their havoc, I could bear it no longer. I bought one of these possum deterrent device from the internet and pointed it towards those beds where the possum delicacies were attempting to grow.
Admittedly I had serious doubts that it would work, I had had too many disappointments before with spikes and spray-on deterrent, but it did. THAT DEVICE IS DOING ITS JOB! For the last month the possums have left that protected area alone. There has not been a single nibble, our leafy greens (Endives, spinach, French sorrel, parsley…) are healthier than I have ever seen them, it’s beautiful!
I postponed trying one of these things as I tend to think that gardening and technology should not mix, but I was wrong. I am now glad that I took this step. The losing battle and heart-ache every autumn is for me a thing of the past.
If some of Laura’s readers, or Laura herself want to try this device, I’ll describe it without giving a direct link as this is not a place for a commercial. A search for “sentinel possum deterrent” should easily find it. I purchased it on eBay from a small family business in Tasmania. The friendly seller was very helpful in helping me set up the controls to obtain the best results. The device is less expensive than I feared.
The small gadget combines ultrasound, sound and a strobe light to make the area it protects inhospitable to the possums. It is absolutely innocuous to us humans. It would disturb Laura’s chooks, if they roamed onto these veggie patches at night, but then I am sure they are safely roosting during those hours when the device needs to be switched on to protect the plants from possums.
I hope that my advocacy of this solution does not clash too much with the readers of this blog who are probably not too inclined towards modern technology. Now that I have tried it however, this solution appears simple, efficient and economical (if the gadget lasts several years as the seller suggested).
John, I’ve heard of these things. I have no problem with people using them as they really are just a more efficient means of a barrier which is the form of defence I attempt (with not great success) myself. I’d be strongly opposed to trapping or harming possums, but just making them dislike your garden is fine.
I have used something similar in a garage – it was a plug in device that emitted a high-pitched sound designed to keep away rats and I suspect it worked on possums as well. I had goods stored in the garage and something moved in and chewed material to make a nest and left droppings everywhere. Sometimes you really do have to chase critters away.
I’m not at that point with my garden. I am “happy” to share food and I wear my losses with some stoicism. In this area brushtail possums are hardly endangered but I’m still a little sympathetic to their plight because suburbia has taken over almost all their habitat.
I don’t leave feed out for any native animals because I don’t want them to stop foraging for what they should be eating in their natural diet. But I am sure my chicken feed and veggies really do have the same result.
It’s a tough balance between sharing the environment with natives, modifying the way they live naturally and keeping your sanity as a garden owner and we each have to find what works best for us.
Thanks for the tip for the sentinel – who knows, one day I may be fed up enough and try something like that myself.
you are very generous! …even if a little begrudgingly sometimes. 😉
Oh yes, it’s easy to be generous when what you are “giving” is taken in the night. By those standards I’m a truly generous soul 🙂