Invasion of the Voles

Harrumph. I have just seen a vole (I am pretty sure it was a vole) scurry across the log store in the veg patch. I suspect he is just one of many voles that are hanging out in and around my kitchen garden, because I have been gathering evidence:

  1. Small holes in the soil.
  2. Gnaw marks on squashes and courgettes.
  3. Carrots munched mysteriously from under ground
  4. Teeth marks in beetroot.
  5. My dog digging frantically in some of the raised beds where I have seen previously mentioned small holes.

I’ve also been reading up on voles. Here’s what I’ve learnt.

  1. They really like vegetables.
  2. The veg patch provides a wonderful source of food for a vole.
  3. Where there’s a mole there is often a vole. And as mentioned in a previous post, I have had mole activity too.
  4. Voles really don’t like to show themselves, so squash leaves provide brilliant safety cover for them.
  5. Voles like soft soil, mulch and compost. They also use their tunnels again and again, so if the soil/compost remains undisturbed, they just keep coming back. This means my no-dig approach has probably encouraged them.
  6. Voles reproduce really fast. Like rabbits, if not faster.
  7. A blanket of snow in winter actually provides the perfect “cover” for voles, and often leads to an increase in their population numbers.
  8. They don’t like gravel
  9. They don’t like castor oil
  10. They don’t like garlic

So, now I am faced with the mission of getting my little vole friends to relocate. Options seem fairly limited, so I think I’ve going to try a combination of three things:

  1. Clearing any vole-friendly debris (i.e. anything that provides them with sufficient ground cover, like fallen leaves and so on)
  2. Putting down garlic and castor oil
  3. Investing in one of those ultrasonic deterrents (I am very sceptical, but willing to try anything to protect my squashes)

Wish me luck!