Preparing Our Garden

We are an optimistic bunch here at High Rocks. Even with regulations changing by the day, we held on to hope that our summer camp for girls may yet be a possibility. So with our plants ordered and the weather warming, we take to the tunnel and begin our work. Gardening is a joy for the local foods team at High Rocks. Many of us have home gardens or container gardens at least. Preparing your beds and planting your seeds is a lovely way to spend the day. That said, it is still very hard work. Work that you don’t mind doing so much as you watch your tiny seeds grow into strong plants, giving way to lots of fruits and vegetables. Feeding young people good, healthy produce is what we do, after all! We like to feed people, local wildlife, not so much.


It started with our beans. They were eaten almost as soon as they emerged from the ground. Rabbit fencing was constructed the following afternoon, hoping to save the rest of the crops planted. Then we decided to put out our peppers and tomatoes and covered them in case of cold temps that were likely that weekend. The tunnel was opened on Monday morning to discover that it wasn’t frost that had gotten to them, but voles. Voles, not to be confused with moles, are herbivorous rodents. Though they both tunnel through yard and garden, moles can be a welcomed addition to your garden area. Moles are carnivorous, eating mostly bugs. Voles would prefer to eat your veggies.


Knowing what we were up against, we decided to remove any of the weed barrier fabric  placed around the empty holes where our peppers and tomatoes once stood. We used fox urine around the perimeter of the tunnel and inside as well. The smell was terrifying to me and I was sure the voles would feel the same. It seemed to work! Our cucumbers and melons were emerging and some of the beans were growing their leaves again. Oh happy day. Secure in the fact that we had bested the little vermin, we decided to put in our basil and lettuce where our tomatoes and peppers once stood. We shook out the remaining fox urine and closed up for the afternoon. We had triumphed over nature.

Or Had We?

The following day it became apparent that we were bested by the creepy critters again. All of our lettuce was gone. Back to the drawing board on vole removal. We are trying some ideas that won’t involve poison or domestic animals. (I still say High Rocks could use a barn cat) In the meantime, planting has stalled in that particular area. I have no doubt that we will find something that works eventually. It has become a personal crusade for this AmeriCorps member. Bill Murray’s character on Caddy Shack is frequently called to mind. I will not be defeated.