I'll never mulch again!

pepbob2April 1, 2013

Now that the snow has finally melted away from my Fall planted Garlic bed, and ive removed the mulch, out of curiosity, i see that moles, voles, chipmunks or what ever have been VERY busy all winter decimating my fall planted garlic and shallots. this is the first time this has happened to me, and it is very discouraging. Any help, suggestions, empathy, sympathy?

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wertach zone 7-B SC

I'll go with sympathy. So sorry.

I've never had that problem, but I have cats and very little snow.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 2:35PM
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LynnMarie_(5 SW Kansas)

how awful. After all the time you spent working, worrying and coaxing the garlic and shallots to grow... and now nothing to show for it. Time to go on a rodent hunt! Want to borrow my cats?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 3:20PM
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pepbob2

Thanks for the sympathy, iam not sure if cats would do the trick, but ??? it was about 10 lbs of garlic and one lb of shallots. iam keeping my fingers crossed that SOME of the Garlic has made it but where the shallots were, an empty row..

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 6:39PM
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pepbob2

Thanks for the sympathy, iam not sure if cats would do the trick, but ??? it was about 10 lbs of garlic and one lb of shallots. iam keeping my fingers crossed that SOME of the Garlic has made it but where the shallots were, an empty row..

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 6:40PM
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pepbob2

sorry for the duplicate posts, dont know how that happened!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:30AM
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planatus(6)

I have never had good luck with fall-planted shallots. The voles (we had many in the past) left them alone, but they just rotted. Seed-grown shallots planted in spring are way more dependable for me.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:21AM
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Randy.Canada

A week or two ago (early April), I removed the mulch from a bed of 300 fall-planted garlic (6 varieties). They were pale (white to yellow) but probably would have eventually made it up through the mulch. I am not sure, though, and I also offer sympathy.

When I first discovered the joys of mulch (20+ years ago), I enthusiastically planted all my sunchokes (helianthus tuberosus) on the ground under mulch. At that time, I shared the property with ground hogs (prairie dogs, the weather liars). Every single one of the tubers was eaten by spring. I managed to hurry up and get more tubers, plant them in time for a decent crop in fall.

Your experience makes me think that the fine art of mulch is not a yes-no, black-white proposition. There is nuance involved. I mulched some empty beds last fall. I am sure there was some benefit derived, even though I have just removed all the dead leaves (being put to good use elsewhere and otherwise). I sowed and planted onions, carrots, beets, and other plants for early spring. I am thinking now that I will mulch between "rows" with cardboard, newspaper, coffee grinds (and whatever else seems appropriate) as the plants grow. I think that right now they need air, light (and I need access).

These set-backs are always discouraging but by the time we hit 90, we should have the hang of it all... hang in!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:21AM
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organic_kitten(8)

Spray the area with a mix of 50% castor oil and dish detergent in a hose end sprayer. The voles and moles will leave. As for chipmunks? A cat is your best bet there. The castor oil works but has to be repeated.

There is a dry product you can sprinkle called Mole relief that contains castor oil. I have lost rose bushes and daylilies to voles, but this really works. (i enjoy pouring a little liquid castor oil in any of their holes I see. I detest them.
kay

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:14PM
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pepbob2

Thanks Randy Canada and Organic Kitten! I havent been on this board for a while and i do appreciate your feed back. i e mailed the woman in Vermont that had gotten the seed garlic from, and she said she mulches with horse manure and has great luck with that, and because of using that material, she doesnt have to fertilze in the Spring. the garlic that i have left, and also the ONE shallot i have left is doing great. But i will try mulching with something not as cozy as straw/hay next year!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:01PM
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