by Maya Bartolf
Growing the LOVE in your Gopher Infested Garden
This week I discovered a wonderful new product to help encourage the LOVE energy in your garden, even though you may be waging a full on war with your gophers that inhabit it. Grow Master --Gopher Basket by Western Planting Solutions (at Pini Ace Hardware in Novato) protects the roots of your plants with a very fine and extremely flexible wire mesh bag/basket. So EASY! They are flexible wire mesh with much more flexibility than the super stiff handmade Chicken or Aviary wire baskets. Affordable too! They have a beautiful, fine, and fluid wire shape--that from my perspective and because I love them so much-- evokes the work of the great wire artist, Ruth Asawa--especially after working with the painful rustic aviary wires! Ok, maybe I'm slightly exaggerating, but if you ever struggled with making your own root baskets, you know! These are like works of art! Ha!
Grow Master Baskets come in Mini, Quart, 1/2 Gal, 1 Gal, and1-3 Gal, 5 Gal, and 15 Gal sizes! Brilliant! Hope our Marin County gophers can't chew through the fine and flexible mesh! So happy to find it-- thought I would share this new product. Will keep you posted...so far- so good.
Products like this allow me to continue to garden with love and joy. This has not always been the case:
The day I made peace with the gophers in my garden is the day my garden began to really flourish. I have been working my garden for over 13 years and battling the gophers for about a good six years. On a daily basis, Marin County gophers can suck the joy out of any gardening experience. These critters make gardening a negative and angry experience and can transform your garden as a place of dark energy like no other.
For years, I vowed to annihilate the little beasts which cross into my yard from open space to eat everything in my garden as if it was a Fast Food Drive Thru. I launched full on assaults with every gopher deterrent and device in my traditional arsenal of weapons of mass extermination. In desparation, I have even fantasized pumping gas into the tunnel and igniting it! (See Rodinator).
One morning about 6 years ago, I woke up to find all 10 delphinium that I planted the morning before, gone. My eye catching one last wiggling stem at the end of the bed, only to disappear instantly down into the hole--as if a cruel scene in a cartoon. That day, I threw up my hands and peacefully surrendered to the tiny beasts.
My new approach was to peacefully co-exist, embracing the little furry friends by actually planting some flowers for them and making baskets out of stiff aviary wire to protect roots of the many plants for my garden. This made gardening more laborious, but the battle was over. As peace began to grow in my garden, so did my love for it, and it began to flourish. Planting of course was a total drag. My choice was either make the rigid baskets of aviary wire, or buy the pull apart ones that are so difficult that you need to channel Herculean strength to open; then dig a hole to accommodate the odd shapes of these root baskets which seems to always leave gaps that the soil doesn't always fill. Grow Master's new more flexible root basket by Grow Master makes planting a breeze and helps to continue my love of gardening.
Dan Schweitzer, inventor and owner of Western Planting Solutions, a Yuba County-based business has been developing and perfecting the Grow Master Gopher basket, a safe alternative to protect young plants from gophers and other rodents. This innovative product dramatically improves plant survival rates at an affordable cost. The stainless steel mesh is specially designed to protect the root ball of a plant while remaining user and environmentally friendly. The patent-pending design allows for installation as simple as putting on a sock. Improving plant survival rates makes it a huge hit with the horticulture, agriculture and forestry industries as well as homeowners, nurseries and landscapers.
After years of research, development and testing this product with the U.S. Forest Service, local fruit and nut producers, home owners, landscape designers and nurseries, Western Planting Solutions is now aggressively marketing the product throughout California and Western Nevada.