Garden Pests

Garden pests come in many shapes and sizes. Some are green and creeping. Some are really cute and fuzzy. But they all have one mission: to invade and conquer, or eat, your garden. Your garden that you have spent so many hours planning and working in!

Garden pests come in 3 categories animals, plants and insects. {People who pester you in the garden are called neighbors.}


  • Bear
  • Birds
  • Cats
  • Chipmunks
  • Deer
  • Dogs
  • Groundhogs
  • Mice
  • Moles
  • Rabbits
  • Racoons
  • Squirrels
  • Voles

Chipmunks are really cute. I love to watch them on the birdfeeders, stuffing their cheeks full of Sunflower seeds. We have one we call Hoover. He can fill his head with 1/2 cup of Sunflower seeds in one sitting.

They are also greedy. Sunflower seeds drive them crazy. I can not direct seed Sunflowers because the chipmunks dig up and eat the seeds. Even when they are planted in pots, they dig them up.

These trays of peat pots were on the plant shelves for a couple of hours. Normally I would have blamed the squirrels, but we caught a really fat chipmunk sitting on the tray with his paws in a Cosmos Mix pot.

Chipmunk dug up sunflower seeds in peat pots

We now cover any newly planted pots with a screen cover. We have seen Fat Boy, as we now call him, climbing all over the cover. Looking for a way in no doubt. He won't let me get close enough to film him. But I will continue to try to get this on video.


We plant all of our vegetables in raised beds or containers. Last year, due to our growing problem with voles, we began to line the bottoms of them with hardware cloth. Hardware cloth can be purchased at your local farm supply. I buy mine at Agway.

It is a galvanized, welded wire product with the wires creating a grid of 1/2" openings. When we build a new bed, we staple the hardware cloth to the underside of the frame. This keeps the voles from tunneling up underneath the bed and eating the crops.

Voles don't like to eat everything, just most things. They love potatoes and carrots. I don't think they particularly like onions, but they always take at least one bite of each. I think they just move along the row hoping that the next one is better.

They also eat the roots of other plants. I have lost countless Rudebeckia, Hostas, Day Lilies, Petunias and Coneflowers to them. The plants seem to die for no reason & when you pull them out there are tunnels where the roots used to be. If it is a plant with a tuber or rhizome, like a Hosta, whatever is left of it has little teethmarks in it.

Some plants they avoid. Garlic, Cucumbers, Iris, Monarda, Oregano, Sage, Thyme, summer Squashes and Tomatoes are always left alone.

There are some plants that they usually leave alone, but occasionally will eat like Gladiolus, Tulips and Coreopsis. I had yellow Coreopsis, or Tickseed, in a raised, stone walled flower bed for years. It had spread from the original 2 plants to fill in about 12 sq ft. The voles were never even remotely interested in it. They only ate the pink Coneflowers and Tulips from the bed.

The over the winter of 06-07 they destroyed most of the bed. They ate 90% of the Coreopsis. I removed what survived and grew it in containers. Now that I have a dozen plants in pots I will start putting it back in the beds. We will see what happens.

Since we can't get rid of them entirely, we line the bottoms of the beds where we plant things that they like. Or grow those plants in containers. And plant stuff they don't like in the other beds.

Does this all sound too familiar? How can you tell if you have voles in your garden? You will have little holes, about 1" in diameter in the ground. Here are some photos of vole tunnel entrance holes at the base of the raised beds.

Vole tunnel entrance hole in garden

Vole tunnel entrance hole in garden bed

There are tunnel entrance holes around every vegetable and flower bed. So far they have not figured out that they could climb the side of the bed and tunnel down next to the plant.

When they do, I will have to investigate other options. This one from looks promising.

15% off orders of $50 or more at Gardener's Supply Company! Offer ends 7.01.09.

Plants or Weeds

Any plant that grows where you do not want it to can be a weed. I lean towards calling things you once planted that now pop up all over, "volunteers" not weeds. To me weeds are plants you really don't want anywhere in your garden or lawn.

Head out to Weeds page 1.


Leave Pests behind and go to Farmers Markets

Composting Basics

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