This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

chipmunks (or voles?) party in the tunnel

My plastic tunnel with winter greens has hit the end of its season. :-( Last week, chipmunks discovered it. They tunneled in and out in many places. They feasted on the greens. They ate tops off the most tender lettuce, baby romain, butterheads and oak leaf. It looks like a little weed whacker went through. They stretched up and ate baby broccoli heads. They started to eat escarole frisée heads and kale. Once I discovered the damage, I harvested almost everything I could. The baby broccoli, all the frisée, any romaine and butterhead they missed, also Asian greens that they hadn't found yet. I left the kale and will take a look at that in a couple days.

Disappointing. But I think I've been really lucky with my new garden location this year. I kind of expected more critter damage than I've had. All I've had problems with this year is cabbage worm and the nasty compost comtaminant. That said, I'm afraid that chipmunks are impossible to exclude from a garden. My usual advice to gardeners with chipmunk trouble is to keep a wide cleared border and don't plant things they like. Right now, that's pretty much anything green and tasty.


Anonymous Marian (LondonUK) said...

Wow, I bet they couldn't believe their luck and went home patting their bellies for a long snooze! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your family, many of us have so much to be thankful for.
(Marian London(UK)

December 08, 2014 3:55 AM

Anonymous Janice in NY said...

Thanks for sharing. Maybe I won't bother doing this next year. We have chipmunks galore.

December 08, 2014 7:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure it's not voles. I don't have chipmunks in my area, but the voles do a similar job on my winter tunnels,too. Hate them.

December 08, 2014 11:11 AM

Blogger kathy said...

It could be voles. We have lots of them too. I suppose voles would be more likely to eat the lettuce. I've seen chipmunks eat strawberries and peas before. Not greens. With all they ate, there must have been 20 or 30 in there ;-(

December 08, 2014 11:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Install a barn owl house in your yard, they only have to be about 8 to 10 feet off the ground, and they eat many, many voles. Or, mousetraps baited with peanut butter. They are savages and will ruin any late fall/winter gardens you try to do.

December 10, 2014 9:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have poured granulated repellent [natural] as well as cayenne down the critter holes that appear in the cold frames / hoop houses, ans so far it seems to keep them from coming back again. I imagine the repellent smells worse when confined to a closed space like a cold frame or poly tunnel and might have more of an effect then usual when spread around an open space.

December 10, 2014 6:06 PM


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