One of my favorite things about Grow Appalachia is the sense of family. Not just the families that we work with but the family that is the Grow Appalachia partners. We share our wisdom and our problems just like families. Like the other day…

I noticed something not so good in one of my raised beds and sent out a partner-wide email asking for advice. It went…

Hello garden champions. I need a hero. I was checking out the garden this afternoon and noticed something not right in the midst of the Swiss chard. Soil had been pushed up and a very sad wilted chard plant was dying in the midst of it. When I went to push the dirt down, something moved and since I have a great respect for all things waking up hungry these days, I got a stick and poked around the poor wilted chard plant. Nothing happened and then…up pops a head two feet away at the base of the raised bed. Well actually it was a snout and it disappeared pretty quickly but I have something living under my Swiss chard and it is not mutant ninja turtles.

 How does one get rid of moles/voles with out using a shotgun or poison?


For the uninitiated, this is a vole hole. I thought it was a crawdad hole. Hmm is that any better?

The first response was from Denise Petersen from ASD:


And then how does one get rid of cats or more specifically cat poop in the garden?  Fence… Oh those garden pests…

This prompted Erica marks from high Rocks to add:

I read that grapefruit peels repel cats.  I tried it in my garden, but results are still inconclusive.  It has made me eat a lot of grapefruit.  (So much for eating local.)  A bonus is that you can find a lot of slugs under the halves in the morning.  As far as voles go, my favorite nature writer Douglas Elliott recommends putting snake boards near your garden to encourage black snakes to take up residence: (I haven’t tried this yet)

Ty Back, the Breathitt Co ANR Agent, responded:

You’re probably dealing with only one or two moles but those can cause a great deal of destruction. University recommendations say the only effective way to get rid of them is to find an active tunnel and set a mole trap. They are fairly inexpensive $10-$15 and can be found at most garden supply stores. 

And then there was Mike Lewis from Growing Warriors:

On my trip to Minnesota, I met a Buddhist and she informed me that a number of ” Pinwheels” stuck in the ground  with make vibrations that will scare them off. I have not tried this. But it sounds logical if that they would be sensitive to that sort of frequency vibration.

Well our dogs chase off any cats that come on property and our mountain is a snake habitat so I checked out the traps, after all Ty is a professional. When I realized they were not live traps and that trapping involved long pointy things…well you can guess what I ended up doing.


Beautiful pinwheels of all sizes!!

Yep, pinwheels! Unfortunately, our clay soil must not vibrate much cuz the little guy is still there. Ends up it is a vole and our blind Jack Russell will catch it eventually. So I have sacrificed my chard this spring and the universe is in balance…that is until it decides to procreate. And besides that I have bigger pests in the garden now.


You can see where the chard used to be…so sad.

This weekend I found horse track in the black-eyed peas. Never a dull moment in the monastery garden.


A horse decided to cut through the black-eyed pea patch. Good thing they weren’t up yet.


I love my peas.