ruined potatoes

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jane in southwest WI, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. Jane in southwest WI

    Jane in southwest WI Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    I had a beautiful crop of red potatoes in my garden. When I need a few for supper I go dig them out, but I've been noticing that something is getting to them before I do. About half of the potatoes are chewed up. If the chew spot is small I cut that part off and use the good part, but it really makes me mad that I am having to throw so many potatoes in the compost.

    I'm guessing it's moles. They can't just eat one whole potato, they have to sample every one! Has anyone else had this happen before and does anyone know how to protect crops from moles?
     
  2. margo

    margo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    858
    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    No better way than to dig them and store in rodent-proof bins, trays, etc. Another culprit may be field mice. either critter would be difficult to eradicate in the outdoors at this point. It really ticks me when I find damage like that, so, I know how ya feels. :no: ............Margo
     

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    We've had sweet potatoes chewed up at the top of the potato by shrews. They are little and look like mice until you get a close up. They have squinty eyes and a stub tail. They will dig down a short way and eat. Are the chewed up places mostly on the upper side of the potato? I don't know if moles eat potatoes, but we have a herd of them that you are welcome to take for any kind of experment you would like to make.
    PLEASE
     
  4. Another cuprit common around here is the midwestern vole has a kind of rounded body much larger than a mouse but the same facial features often mistakenly called a field mouse he is smaller than the rat and doesn't have the beaver teeth of the rat. If you have moles you should be seeing bumped up tunnels in soft dirt if not probably one of the rodents. I agree dig em up and store them
     
  5. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,665
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    I agree that it's probably rodents. I think moles eat more earthworms and such than potatoes. We've had damage to potatoes and carrots from mice and/or meadow voles before. Be careful where you store them, as the little rodents can get in through very small holes or cracks.

    Kathleen in Oregon
     
  6. diane greene

    diane greene Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    297
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Please don't blame the damage on moles or the North American shrew (Sorex araneus), they are carnivores and are interested in grubs, worms and insects. The culprits, as others have indicated, are voles (aka: meadown mice). They are root eaters and often tunnel around plants making a home near the roots. Moles and shrews sometimes uses these tunnels also in search of critters, but they are not interested in your plants. You can trap voles in mouse traps using a mix peanut butter, molasses and sesame seeds. The seeds are important because they are big seed eaters. Voles are most active in early spring and early-late fall, but will breed even in winter.
     
  7. We've lost almost our whole crop of beets to varmits, I'm almost certain it's rats. Yuk.
     
  8. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,844
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2002
    Location:
    central idaho republic
    Last year i lost about half my tators to underground rodents, since we dont have moles, voles or some of the other rodents of places unknown to me we callem pocket gophers, anyhow got to talking to my folks about it, cause growing up we had a awesome crop of tators every year, and nary a year we lost more than a hil or so to varmits..... Ma thumped my head a few times with a 2x4 so as i could recall that we always had marigolds growing around the garden, such plants are a deterrant to gophers, and i only thought they was sumthin ma liked to look at.

    gopher purge is a plant i have read about but never had any experience growing..... Gurneys sells it in their catalog though so it cant be to hard to find.

    William
     
  9. i didn't know gophers were very intrested in roots either i thought they came for grubs june bug larvae. Our voles are to big for mouse traps the victor rat traps will work though you will never trap them out though as they are in any tall grass shrubs ditches etc. the best cure is dig em up as soon as they are done you can store the undamaged ones and trim the damage from the damged ones then can the rest of that one or use it imediately. rats are even bigger and have the huge beaver teeth they can chew through a 2x4. Rats don't get very far from water ways usually but voles and mice are everywhere.
     
  10. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,898
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Zone 9b
    "If you have moles you should be seeing bumped up tunnels in soft dirt if not probably one of the rodents. I agree dig em up and store them"

    OK, Unregistered, I'll dig them up, but how do I store the moles?
     
  11. an aqaurium full of dirt?
     
  12. margo

    margo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    858
    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    :haha: :haha: :haha: :haha:
     
  13. Wood rats -- we had these eating our potatoes when we lived in Seattle. The damage varied: some they only took a bite out of all the way to being chewed up all around, no skin left. You could see the tooth marks. I set traps and caught 8 or 9 in one night and we didn't have many problems after that.

    Marcia in MT