Voles in the garden and eating the potatoes. Time for plan B.

I had a surprise in my garden today. Voles in my garden is a new experience for me in our new location in Tennessee. Voles were never a problem in Colorado.

Transcript: edited for clarity.

So a little backstory: about four days ago, I planted potatoes in this little row that’s right behind me here. You can see, I’ve just got a short row here.

This is an experimental potato patch where I am just laying the potatoes on the ground and then covering them with leaves and straw both. I was going to grow them that way.

I’ve heard this called Ruth Stout method. I’ve heard it called no dig potato gardening. I’ve heard it called planting potatoes in mulch and leaves. (see this video I did when I planted this patch.)

Voles In the Garden!

But I had a problem today. I decided to come out because I’m curious and I had to take a look. I wanted to pull a potato out and just see how it was doing. And to my delight, they are actually growing. We got potatoes that are growing little leaves on them. And so it was working.

However, that’s one side of the potato. And this is the other side. I did not cut these potatoes. I have something eating my potatoes!

So there’s one, here’s another one. These potatoes are just munched all over. Here’s another one. I found four potatoes. I think I planted seven. I didn’t write it down so I’m not sure. But I know I didn’t plant a lot because this is an experiment.

I think it is Voles invading my garden.

Sharon holding a potato damaged by voles

I’ve got my regular usual traditionally planted potatoes back behind me here. (Oh gosh. I hope the voles don’t find it, too!) But anyway, the voles love my mulch. They liked my potatoes. Yep, they had a little dinner under there and I’m sure they’ll be back.

So we’re going to move on to plan B and I am going to be researching voles, how to get rid of voles. I know that they come because there’s grubs. And I have read that if you get rid of the grubs, that the voles will go away because the food source is gone. However, this is also a food source. So anyway, if you know anything about voles and you have an idea for me on how to get rid of them, leave a comment. I am all ears. In the meantime we are going to Plan B.

Plan B is Planting Potatoes in Container.

But we are going to now plant these rescue-able potatoes. I have four of them that are going to go in containers instead. So we’re going to do potatoes in containers.

Since I was going to try just mulch on top of my potatoes I decided why not plant in a container, and I’ll just do the mulch on top of it in the container? So that’s what I’m going to do.

a potato planted in a container

Planting Potatoes in a Container with Hay and Leaves.

Right here I have this planter nursery pot. I think we got an apple tree in this. I put some dirt in the bottom about a third full. I plunked my potato on top of that. And now I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to use the same mulch and I’m going to cover it up. I’ll keep that wet and we’re just going to see how that works. Hopefully it will grow up through it, just like it would have if it was in the ground.

Planting Potatoes in Containers

I am also going to do the same thing with some containers, only I’m just going to use dirt and not mulch. We’re going to use a potting soil that I made. It’s actually part peat moss and part my natural soil. The peat moss is to loosen it up because you need loose dirt whenever you’re doing a container like this. I do know that.

So plan B, Ruth Stout is not going to happen this year. We’re going to do potatoes instead in containers. So let me know what you know about voles and I will keep you updated on how my container potatoes go.

Related Articles

How to grow potatoes – Everything you wanted to know about growing your own potatoes. What methods should you choose? Grow potatoes step by step!

How to Cut up Seed Potatoes – Some people like to cut seed potatoes small to get as many ‘eyes’ as possible. Some plant a whole potato… no muss no fuss.

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voles in the garden. eating the potatoes

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  1. We also have Voles. Do you know how to kill them? We even paid over $300.00 for a yard company because they were making tunnels like in our grass.
    They did solve the problem in our yard area, but have been found in our garden. I fear, like you they will start on our potatatoes. Any suggestions??
    Thanks you.

  2. If you can dig/plow your garden just in time for the robins to arrive in early spring, they will scratch up those grub, eat them, and return for more the next spring.

    Only solution I can come up with for the voles is to keep a catnip plant near, but not in, the tater patch and let your cats hunt there.

  3. We have voles in our yard. I mix castor oil, dishwasher soap and water and spray the ground. Supposedly, they don’t like the smell. I still see one once in a while but other than having tunnels, they don’t eat anything I have planted.

  4. I hate to tell you, but they will eat your onions too! I finally gave up. They went on an eating spree one day and took a bit out of all kinds of things! My husband said, they were probably making a salad. I hope they choked on it. We’ve tried everything with no luck. Hope you do better.

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