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Moles, Voles and Holes

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Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  Squat_Johnson on 4/3/2011, 8:03 pm

Here is what I have learned over the last couple years battling these beasts.

It starts with Moles. They aren't really garden pests per say. That is, they don't eat produce. They just like earthworms, but they make great paths for voles (field mice) to find your produce. That's the problem really, the paths leading to your boxes. Mel's mix seems to be great for making their underground tunnels. From underneath, they eat roots and pull plants down into their burrows. Here's a view from the top...



I have found that there are some voles that are reading Mel's recommendations on spacing head lettuce four to a square. Five doesn't work for them. Once again, I should listen to Mel...




Other voles are into eating their spinach. They must be reading Popeye comic books under my garden.



I must add that last year, they ate half my potato crop. I dug them very early, and every other one had chew marks on it.

I am in the process of digging up beds and and re-building with 1/2" hardware cloth (wire mesh) as the bottom of boxes. If there's a chance voles are in your area, a 4' x 25' roll is 50 bucks at Home Depot. If you have mole paths near your boxes, mash them down with a truck or stomp them flat. I am putting many sticks of Juicy Fruit gum into their holes (it seems to stop up their digestion).

see also:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t2534-name-this-vermin
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5998-vole-warning-tomato-destruction-overnight

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/3/2011, 10:27 pm

Squat, Thanks for that informative and funny post with great descriptive photos.

Sorry you have had so many problems, but having to dig up all your beds and install hardware cloth, that is awful.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  middlemamma on 4/3/2011, 10:30 pm

I would not have your wonderful disposition or sense of humor if it were my garden. Kudos to you and good luck with the juicy fruit! I know Ander swears it works. One thing I remember her saying was do not touch it with your hands.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/3/2011, 10:40 pm

For what it's worth, your avatar is perfect for this thread! I'm sure it's by design from the Cinderalla Story Out of Nowhere!!

Hope you get 'em.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  Squat_Johnson on 4/4/2011, 12:16 pm

Just so you know, this is what a vole looks like... This one was fattened up with potatoes for a few months. Although he looks alive, I had just released him from the snap trap. I have never seen one alive




apologies for the double post,

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  dizzygardener on 4/4/2011, 12:28 pm

Excellent post!

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  Squat_Johnson on 6/6/2011, 12:59 pm

I have a belated update. I dug out a 24 x 4 bed and replaced it with boxes and wire bottoms (hardware cloth).
I threw a couple hundred sticks of juicy fruit gum in the various holes.
Here's a construction photo...

At this point last year, I pulled all my potatoes out and they were half eaten.
see old post: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t2534-name-this-vermin
It's been a couple of months, but I haven't seen any new holes or damage.
Potatoes are looking great. I would not have been able to grow these without the
wire bottom.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  milaneyjane on 6/6/2011, 7:21 pm

The cost of the hardware cloth is definately worth it. I have found numerous holes around the garden, and they ate hundreds of iris bulbs that are only a few feet from my gardens---but the gardens have survived.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  NHGardener on 6/6/2011, 7:43 pm

That must have been a ton of work to empty your boxes and redo! Did you save the MM and reuse it?

They don't do well with juicy fruit gum?

Glad it is turning out well in the end. Those potatoes are beautiful.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  westie42 on 6/6/2011, 9:37 pm

I guess we don't have voles here because never heard the name before. Naturally I am no expert on voles but after all that work to plug the bottom of your boxes what will prevent them from moving in from the top side. Thats ok if you think it's a dumb question eventually I will understand the answer.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  Squat_Johnson on 6/7/2011, 10:10 am

@NHGardner - voles evidently like the sugar, but can't digest the gum. Yes, it was quite a workout to dig all that out.

@westie42 - there are no dumb questions. From what I have read, these animals are very shy, and don't move about in the open. They stay underground, and will often use a mole's tunnels. They don't seem to climb like mice.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  westie42 on 6/7/2011, 10:24 am

Thanks S_J for explaining. Have read that gum plugs up several other small critters and think I was told it's not good for pets, the same danger goes for automotive anti freeze.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  happytheman on 8/24/2011, 6:13 pm

Glad I found this thread. Kicker is I just made 4 new beds this spring! (4x12) I considered using weed cloth but it sounds like they would have chewed through that anyway. Thanks for the information. This will be my fall project.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  Squat_Johnson on 8/25/2011, 9:31 am

Voles really like chewing up the weed cloth. They floss tomato seeds from between their their teeth with it, and it makes good bedding for their nests. I rehabbed half my beds last winter, and found several snuggly nests.

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Re: Moles, Voles and Holes

Post  Kelejan on 8/25/2011, 10:13 am

Thanks for this information. My shopping list now includes a roll of hardware cloth and sticks of juicy Fruit gum.

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Great post

Post  kgooding on 1/21/2012, 6:00 pm

Thanks for the post! I bought and was planning on using chicken wire mesh for the bottom of the boxes I'm building but after reading this I think I'll go back to home depot and exchange it for the 1/4" mesh. I haven't done any veggie gardening at my current location, but I've dealt with voles in flower beds and the lawn here. I can say that in other locations stuffing good old fashion rat poison in the holes seems to do the job. Some of my neighbors have spent tons of time and money on other gummy worm type poisons that haven't worked and one even tried the electronic deterrents without success. At this point though, I suspect we just keep evicting voles, they move to a new neighbor, they get rid of them and come back to us! Evil critters, but I guess they are good food for the hawks and owls! Thanks for the info!

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