Saturday, October 11, 2014

Moles, Out, Out, Out...Get Out of my Garden

I wonder if any of you have any idea how many different types of plants the moles find delicious.  I had no idea how many veggies could become victims of their habits.  We have about 1/3 of an acre in garden and this is one big battle.

My first loss this spring was the walking onions.  They ate almost all my plants.  I plant a row in the garden each year for harvesting in the spring, I dehydrate the stems and have green onions to add to soups and many dry mixes I make.  This spring was a total loss.  No onions, as I went to harvest my tops I found the tops wilted, I pulled and there were only tops with no roots.  Some of the tops had been pulled down into the holes where the onion had been.  There were a few plants in the herb garden and I am now working on growing lots of sets.  My big decision is to start growing onions in gutters,  I have talked with a roofing and gutter man, he is going to keep me on the list for used guttering.  I plan to bury the gutters in the garden and plant my onion sets in the gutters.  Mr. Bootsie will drill drain holes in the bottoms of the gutters.  In the meantime, I will be planting in flower pots.  We did have an old freezer we had used for grain storage, that has been moved to the garden, filled with good soil and now has become a home for my winter onions.  I have had another thought but I need to check and see how costly effective this will be.  I thought about the bag on a roll which is just one long bag.  I could cut one side and hopefully they would not be able to invade from the bottom.

Time to harvest the peas, oh well, this was just wishful thinking.  The vines were blooming and all of sudden they started to wilt.  What is going on?  Start from the ground up and what do I find but the vine is cut at the ground level, mole has eaten the root of the peas.  I plant pole beans after the peas and they climb on the same wire.  It was time for me to put some thought into how this was going to be handled.  I lost some of the pole beans last year, so I had been thinking about this  through the winter.  All of my pole beans were planted in 6 inch pots.  I manure the pot to about 3/4's full, add good soil and plant my pole beans (2 beans) in the pot.  I was adding yard long beans this year, the same method was used for these beans except one hill, I went out one day to water, found one hill of beans wilting, realized this hill was planted directly into the ground and had been attack by the mole.

Bush beans, I plant contender snaps and they do produce.  I had been picking beans and canned 14 quarts only to find in the row the bean plants roots were being eaten.  There was an excellent harvest of green bush beans; however, I do try to leave a number of them to harvest as dried beans.  This was a major loss as the mole had a picnic eating the roots of the green beans.  I plant too many green beans to try and do something with them, so I will just be taking my chances.

Root veggies do not stand a chance around here, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, beets all are mole food, I do harvest a few turnips and radishes.  Last year, we tried parsnips only to realize they would have to be planted in pots.  I am quite fortunate to have a number of large pots and even some huge pots as I am a pack rat for pots.  There are, also, those horrible blue barrels in our garden.

The blue barrels have been effective in my war against the stink bugs on my squash plants.  I plant early in the spring and my plants do not reach the ground, I am able to control the stink bugs because of this method of planting.  Well, it worked this year, 2 years ago there was war fighting the squash bug.

I am sharing this with you because I need help, suggestions and someone to send me boxes of tissues as I cry over my efforts to feed us going down into the soil as I can  see the top of my plants as they disappear.  I know there has to be someone having this problem beside me.  Now that I have cried on your shoulder I have one more to share with you.  Those moles are eating my strawberry plants.

           THIS IS WAR!!!
              (once again)

                            A few pictures of our tunnel during the summer and winter.

During the summer, the tunnel is covered with climbing plants.

This is the inside before I start adding the cool weather crops.

Snow load on top, plants inside, we were able to harvest all winter.

Here is a picture of our planting beds

All of our beds are constructed from wood, mostly logs.  I prefer for them to be close to the ground as this will reduce watering.  Beds are 4 feet wide and various lengths.

As I ponder how to handle my mole problem, I shall move forward.  The garden is moving into the tunnel for the winter, Swiss chard, lettuces, onions, beets, kale, peas, broccoli are all being planted in pots.  Holland greens are a direct seed as I did not have a major problem last year.  Garlic was planted in the soil, it seems to do well.  I like having some garlic in the tunnel as it is ready to harvest a little earlier than those grown in the garden.

Your thoughts are welcome.  I would love to hear how you handle problems in your garden.  Comment here or on the Happy Hallow Facebook page, please.  Link at the top right.  

I must run along as no one has dropped by wanting to feed the pasture animals so I am off do some chores.  Maybe a cup of warm tea would be nice first, shall I make a cup of tea for you?