Monday, October 10, 2011

Hoop House Redo and Moles

We have been busy: nearly two weeks on the road to Montana with friends, Part I and Part II; continual work in the garden; harvesting and processing of vegetables upon return; and then my brother came to visit, just at the right time.

As many of you know, we put in a hoop house at the beginning of the year in order to extend our growing season, jump start the spring and summer vegetables and prolong the harvest of heat loving plants such as eggplant and peppers into the fall. Well, the best laid plans o' mice (moles) an' men...

It seems the moles took over the beds while we were gone and caused considerable damage by nearly uprooting many of the vegetables. Moles do not eat the roots, but rather dig main tunnels creating mounds and large air pockets, then go off in in all directions as they search for worms... in this case throughout our raised beds.

I wish this article from Purdue University had been published many years ago as it would have saved us many dollars. No, gum in the tunnel, vibrating devices, moth balls... do not work, for we have tried every gimmick in the book throughout the years. The only deterrent has been to trap them or else forget about them, which is what we finally did, for they outnumbered us and the energy required for combat. According to this data there is a relatively new product as an alternative, a worm-shaped bait with a smell and taste of a worm and Bromethalin, the active ingredient that poisons the mole. This was not a choice for our vegetable garden.

Redoing all the raised beds inside the hoop house was not at the top of our list either, but clearly had to be done. We dug out two of the beds, inserted a screen they cannot enter, and refilled with soil. Two down, three to go... game on boys!

We will wait until the rest of the eggplant and peppers are harvested before we complete the project.

Thank you brother! we got a new stone floor.