Lasagna gardening vs Voles vs Herbs?

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

Here is what I have in my little herb garden, Lovage, Oregano, Lime Light Wormwood. Two different types of Skullcap, Blue Mist Spirea, Russian Sage, Gateway Joe Pye Weed.

I donít have any voles in that bed but in my flower beds that are leaf beds like my herb bed, the ground is hollow from tunnels under them, I dig to plant a flower and itís all tunnels! Iím talking about four inches deep probably by the time I go thru and plant a bunch of plants seems like the garden drops a few inches from the rest of the ground with it caving in!

That tells me voles donít like one or more herbs in my bed and wonder if there is anyone out there that has the same vole problem that I do and if your herb garden has any voles in it :)

Lea

Middleburgh, NY

I hate voles!!! Really, really hate voles. Neighbor used to have a cat that helped with the vole population. Now, they are gone. I have found vole holes in rose beds and in strawberry beds and all sorts of other places. But, you are right. None in the lovage or feverfew, sage, thyme, etc beds. I'll have to pay more attention to which beds the voles leave alone. We have nearly 100 raised beds.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

I have all kinds of cats around here even a bunch of feral cats and they can't keep up with them but I do find it odd that I don't have any in my herb garden there's got to be something with the herb bed, there's at least one herb in there that they don't like I intend on finding out what it is or maybe more than one that they don't like! I hate those suckers too!

I've had to take to putting carpet down to kill grass so I can plant and there is only so much carpet I can beg lol I have one whole side of my yard carpeted now! No more lasagna beds until I figure it out I think the lasagna beds is what draws them by my experience anyway.

This message was edited Mar 24, 2010 9:13 PM

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

It's not the lasagna beds. I've got them in my garden too, both level rows and raised rows, with and without mulch. Seems they are more prone to tunnel in rows with mulch, though.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

msrobin, BTW I like your name :) Maybe they just haven't started multipling that much where you are yet lol

I've got mulch on my nectar garden and do have a couple of tunnels not like my other beds yet but it has been there a while mostly moles are messing it up but I started it as a lasagna bed I just have so many voles every where else I'm sure they will be more in that one eventually they say they multiply pretty fast.

First it was the chipmunks and I got a cat so those are gone and we take spells where we have a lot of feral cats plus the neighbor's cats are over here a lot so I have litter boxes in all of my flower beds because I have so many cats around lol Like I said though the cats can't keep up with them and I see them catch sometimes three a day from just one cat I've even seen the hawks get them not that much though.

I have one bed that is just tunnel city underneath the soil when I go to plant I have to add dirt and don't have that much to add but they just go thru again and it's hollow under the top of the soil they don't seem to bother my plants that I can tell it's just frustrating trying to plant more plants and hitting all of those tunnels then I can walk in the bed and all of a sudden the ground caves in under me too, a lot of times!

I should add I guess that the bed I'm talking about I'm taking all of my plants out this year and it's going to be a garden next year so guess I'll have to watch then too but I plan to figure the herbs out they don't like and plant a lot of those lol I've already planted some tyme in the side yard where I'm moving my plants from that bed to solid ground lol

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

I have no knowledge of voles, PTL, but I have had success planting the old fashioned marigolds around my gardens, the moles stay out. Might help??

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

What do you call the old fashion marigolds Cathy? I do grow marigolds but just with my tomato plants I'm not much on marigolds, tried the castor bean plant and the moles are like tunneling a foot away from them :) I'm using the grub granules this year to get rid of them a neighbor suggested that as long as it doesn't do away with my worms I'm fine with it I like my worms for this clay soil :)

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

the old fashioned marigolds are orangey in color, get about a foot or so tall, and the flowers are just 6 or so petals, not the big ones seen at the garden shops. I start them from seed around the edges of the bed, planted closer than suggested. If there is a gap I move them to fill it in. I'm not much on marigolds either, but the work to keep the moles out of my garden. I think it is something in the roots that does it.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

I'll try that Cathy thank you, now more seeds to sow just what I need lol Thank you ;P

Southborough, MA(Zone 6a)

Lebug- It's funny you say that. I mix in herbs in all my gardens and it does seem to help with tunneling. I have so many herbs that I can't contain them to one bed, so I started adding them to all the other nine beds. I have moles rather than voles, but I still hate the tunnels. I live next to a wetland so it's hard to go after the root problem (grubs) with the chemical methods. I'm stuck with Milky spore and Nematodes- which don't seem to be doing the job very well.
I find Tansy and Rue work quite well to repel critters (and the Japanese bettles pests). They also tend to stay away from the chives, garlic, and angelica.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

Aw I didn't start any rue this year and should have for the butterflies but I have so many plants elsewhere will have to watch for seedlings.

Tell me what is the angelica should I know that plant? I googled it and it still doesn't look familiar, this is one of those days when my brain just won't work LOL

I'm off to check on rue seedlings :)

Elmira, NY(Zone 6a)

The rue is going to keep the cats out too, though. I'm betting it's the wormwood that the voles don't like. NOTHING likes wormwood. I grow a bit of it because I think it's beautiful and it has interesting magical properties. If I were you, I would try putting wormwood trimmings in some of the vole tunnels and see if it helps. I too had so many voles my excellent hunter cat could not keep up with them. They love grass that is long in winter and they reproduce like mad then. I tried Mole-Stop, and that worked. It's basically castor oil that you water into the soil. They never came back after that. Someone said something about how it kills the worms, but I did not notice any such effect. I had tons of worms and other bugs in the soil there.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

Thanks for your comments paracelsus exactly what I'm looking for. I know there is no way I can plant my wormwoods in the flower bed but the clippings do sound like a good idea I'll try that thanks.

I did get some mole-stop last year or maybe the year before that and it didn't work for me with the moles I haven't noticed anything happening to the worms either but was afraid it would having so many moles too it was worth a shot :)

I'm wondering how far apart I should plant rue I have it in a few of beds now but only one plant in each one every bed I have is kind of large, the one bed that is so full of vole holes and tunnels only has one plant in it and it's at the end of the bed I'm going to have to search my seeds and see if I have anymore to start and plant more in that one to try for sure.

My outside cat has decided to stay in the house this year I do believe so I may not have her help this year anyway, I've tried to let her out on nice days and she just looks out the door and turns away lol I may have to depend on the ferals and the neighbor's cats this year :)

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Regarding castor bean, I've heard of people dropping the seeds in the mole holes. I think they eat them and (of course) die. So maybe it isn't the plant so much as the seeds. Not sure if that's safe around the cats, though.

Today's article is on this very subject: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2850/

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

Well I always have the Castor Bean plants I think they are pretty lol I have moles digging tunnels about a foot away from them I'll try the seeds in the holes next time I didn't save any seeds last year I just let them reseed. I'll go read the article.

I did find a few rue seedlings and transplanted those to my side yard gardens :) They don't usually reseed that much for me guess the rain did it's thing this winter we've had quite a bit of it of course with summer coming it's slowing down a lot right now lol

I lost a hosta from my side yard looks like it was just drug down in the ground there's a big hole where it was :(

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Well, dang! If you let the seeds drop, maybe the voles are smart enough not to eat them and that's why they're still alive!

My brother wants to grow castor bean - they are lovely - but I'm a little worried, with my 3-year-old nephew running around. You know that they're extremely poisonous, right? I hate to tell you what you already know. But I'd also hate to have you save seeds and run the risk of someone accidentally getting into them.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

I just wanted a lot of castor bean reseeding this year and I had a death in the family last year and didn't really have time to go out and save any :) I don't think the oil kills them does it, doesn't it just drive them away?

I don't have any children running around here, wish I did, so I don't have to worry about the seeds thank goodness my only grandson is 16 he worries more about cars lol

I did know they are poisonous but thanks for the heads up anyway it never hurts to mention it :)

The neighbors on the other side of me have about fifty kids it seems sometimes but in reality it's only four where I'm getting ready to plant and worrying about the voles is the side by them they are always playing basket ball in their drive way and the ball is always flying over here I just hope when I go to planting over there the plants survive lol My plants out front survived skate boards flying thru the yard when the boy across the street was growing up so I figure a basket ball isn't as destructive as a skate board lol No castor bean plants over there for sure these kids are about 6 and up to 12 :) My castor bean plants are way out of their reach :)

I've been saving my cat hair too for the holes and putting it around the plants that I have there already.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

My nephew has stepped on, dug, or dropped a ball on just about everything in the garden. In the end, though, he's much less destructive than the moles and bugs.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

At least the plants come back the next year for more abuse LOL

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

paracelsus, thought I'd report some results from trying the rue. I planted a very small rue in the hole that the hosta was missing in and when it rained I thought I hadn't filled the hole up enough and the rain washed a hole in it again because it was pretty hollow under that hole both ways of the tunnel. I filled the hole again and put some cat hair in first and the hole appeared again the next day must have been an active vole hole still I filled it up one more time after that...About three weeks after I planted it I didn't see any evidence of him being there anymore he quit making holes lol

BUT I have another vole hole about 8' away from that one and another that is active a little closer than that! I transplanted five I think rues into my front yard and still need about five more most of the others went in the back of it. I just can't have that much rue out front lol I like it but gessh! lol Maybe as the plants grow they will work better.

My hosta that I thought I lost the vole must have left me a little tease cause I finally had two leaves of it come up but they were tiny and found another hosta in the same shape at the corner of the house forgot I had that one until I saw the tiny one lol So that darn vole ate two of my sun hosta last winter!

A friend of mine said to plant daphs around your hosta for tunneling critters it was just something she had heard. I have five hosta on the side of the house and they are nice and beautiful and I have daphs by them from her. Gonna have to get me some more daph bulbs! I'm always afraid I'll forget where I plant bulbs and will hurt them planting more plants I'm always planting more plants. I planted the daphs by the hosta for the chipmunks and there aren't any there anymore :)

One vole hole is right close to a thyme so thyme doesn't deter them, another hole wasn't too far from a variegated oregano so that crosses that herb out too. I need to try some wormwood cuttings down holes like you were talking about.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Sure wish I lived closer, my little wiener dog took care of our tunneling critters. She dug them out. It messed up the yard a bit but once they were gone I was able to make it neat again.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Cathy, can you ship her to me for a bit for my voles?

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

She's my baby, I'd have to come along :D

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Well, come on....we'll feed ya. Only about 5 1/2 hours.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

Hmm wonder how far Caneyville, KY is from me I can feed you too might have to call a pizza in don't think you'd want to eat my cooking something I could just never get the hang of lol But I'm on it with the carry outs LOL I'm just across the river from Louisville :)

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Lebug, I'm 1 1/2 hours SW of Louisville. Cathy could come out one evening, stay the night, then head up to your place the next morning. When she's ready to go home, she just has to hop on I-64 and drive straight into St. Louis. Easy trip.

Cathy, so your dauchsund does a pretty good job? Al is talking about getting a beagle. Only problem is Samson likes being an only "child".

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

She does a great job, but it took a few days. I'll bet a beagle would be good, too.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Terriers are usually good rodent catchers, it's what some of them were bred for.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks, Sheryl. Make have to give some serious thought to a little dog.

I put a cutting of mint into each hole I found in the strawberry rows and noted a lot less berries had bites out of them.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Of course, there's always the Castor bean plants - I've heard they're pretty effective. As long as you don't have a horse or something to munch on it and poison themselves, they're also quite attractive!

The one caveat, Robin, is they also *love* to bark, so my recommendation is to go to a shelter so you can watch it, first!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Not so worried about the barking, but Samson is really good at taking new family "members" off and ditching them....a puppy playmate, a goat.....luckily we found them.

I've got castor beans, but Al isn't too crazy about the idea of me planting them.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

LOL - poor Samson.

Tell Al that tomato plants are poisonous, too.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

Hard to think of tomato plants as being poisonous too isn't it :)

I'e tried the castor bean plant and for the moles they tunnel right beside it I have some determined moles here and a bunch of them my field looks like something from outer space in the spring with all the tunnels and about this time of year they are all over my beds. Doesn't do anything for the voles either.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

So much for that one, lol! Determined little beasts....

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

That's for sure I've heard of them helping other people but not here :(

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Your property may be too large for this solution, but before I got my wiener dog, I would stomp the runs then stick the hose down a main hole and flood the nests. When the moles came swimming to the top, I'd scoop them up and put them in a bucket of water with a lid. They can't swim. Not very nice to read about, but it worked.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Moles supposedly don't like too much noise. Between the mower, the weed eater, Al's radio, plus stomping down the tunnels and dropping poison drops down the holes, we don't see too much activity after a while. The voles OTOH, eat my potatoes and strwaberries. I think I mentioned earlier that stuffing a large cutting of mint into the holes seems to have helped some. At least they started leaving me some strawberries.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

ah mint forgot about that I did see you mention mint I have some I'll do that thanks!

I'm always stomping the tunnels down from the moles they just go thru again or make another one lol I'm laughing now because stomping those tunnels down helps me let off some steam :)

cathy wonder what time of year they make their nest I have an acre yard and almost an acre field, where my plants are it isn't that big I thought about turning the hose to them the other night I'll get around to that sometime this week right now it is scorching outside lol I just got a trade in and haven't even gone thru the box yet it's so steamy out I opened it up to let them breath waiting on the nice shade :)

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

LeBug, I don't know, I just did it when I was really mad, haha.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

I read sometime ago that stomping the tunnels down will eventually frustrate the moles and they will move on. Your neighbors might not be too happy about that, though.

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