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:
- Small holes in the soil.
- Gnaw marks on squashes and courgettes.
- Carrots munched mysteriously from under ground
- Teeth marks in beetroot.
- 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.
- They really like vegetables.
- The veg patch provides a wonderful source of food for a vole.
- Where there’s a mole there is often a vole. And as mentioned in a previous post, I have had mole activity too.
- Voles really don’t like to show themselves, so squash leaves provide brilliant safety cover for them.
- 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.
- Voles reproduce really fast. Like rabbits, if not faster.
- A blanket of snow in winter actually provides the perfect “cover” for voles, and often leads to an increase in their population numbers.
- They don’t like gravel
- They don’t like castor oil
- 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:
- Clearing any vole-friendly debris (i.e. anything that provides them with sufficient ground cover, like fallen leaves and so on)
- Putting down garlic and castor oil
- Investing in one of those ultrasonic deterrents (I am very sceptical, but willing to try anything to protect my squashes)
Wish me luck!