Tips to Take Care of Moles in the Home Vegetable Garden

Members of the Talpidae family, moles, the ones we are talking about here, burrow into the ground, are covered in a grayish to brown fur and have tiny eyes that allow them to differentiate between night and day. Regardless of what you many have heard moles aren’t in your home vegetable garden because you grow great tomatoes.

Moles primary source of food are earthworms. Unfortunately for the mole, earthworms rank higher on the importance scale for the home vegetable gardener. Therefore if you have a mole issue, it needs to be addressed, because a garden’s soil without earthworms is like your car and no fuel.

Shot Gun
Not our method of choice, but when we posted this question on our Facebook fan page, we received dozens of responses of using a shot gun. If this is something you feel comfortable with and your local laws allow it, then by all means go ahead.

Rat Traps
Yep, they just aren’t for rats anymore. You can lay a few of these traps out with the bait of choice, in this case earthworms, and they do an excellent job of getting the moles. Don’t be surprised however if you do get some moles in the trap and they get cut in half. Rat traps are very powerful, so be careful.

Ground Vibration
Although Christopher`s suggestion of napalm was intriguing, we decided to go with something a little more humane, less destructive and safer and that is causing ground vibrations. There are a couple of ways to do this. One of our Facebook members took 20 ounce soda bottles, drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, and buried them about halfway down and three feet apart from one another. As the wind blew the plastic bottles they created vibration which kept the moles out of his garden. You could also purchase vibration rods to put in the ground which has the same affect.

Anyone of these ideas will do the trick, but you could always go with Stan’s suggestion and sit out by your garden in a lawn chair with your pitchfork in one hand a favorite beverage in the other, wait for the mole to pop up, and well, you get the idea.

Moles can do damage to your home vegetable garden in ways that might not seems obvious, but rest assure the damage they will do, can wreak havoc on the underlying ecosystem and create problems for your plants. Follow some of these suggestions above and you will be well on your way to a mole free home vegetable garden.

Tips For Growing Celery in Your Home Vegetable Garden

By itself, I believe celery is very bland and tasteless, but throw some peanut butter on it and all of a sudden you get a crispy, crunchy, healthy snack. Celery is so versatile because it can be added to a variety of dishes, such as soups and salads, to actually add flavor.

Celery has been dated as far back as 30 A.D. where it was written that celery seeds were used as a means to relive pain. More recent studies show that celery contains a compound called 3-N-butyl-phtalide that has shown to reduce blood pressure in rats, so maybe back in 30 A.D. they were on to something.

Beyond all the background and scientific data on celery you will find it most interesting if you enjoy vegetable gardening like I do, that growing celery is easier than you think. If you are going to give celery a try in your next growing season, here are some tips to help you out.

As always, start with an excellent foundation and that is your soil. Make sure your soil is in the 6.0 to 7.0 pH range. That makes it neutral to slightly acidic. You can test your soil’s pH level with a $4 home testing kit available from any home or garden center.

Always start your seeds indoors. They will have a better chance for survival and once they have germinated they will more easily adapt to the environment in which you are going to move them to. You can start them indoors as early as 10 weeks prior to the final frost of the season in your area.

When you do plant your seeds indoors, because celery seeds are very tiny, you can just slightly cover them with soil with very little soil. Do not bury them deep as they are not large enough to produce enough energy to break through large amounts of dirt.

You are ready to move them outdoors when day time temperatures remain steady above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and night time temperatures do not dip below 60 degrees. Should temperatures fall below 60 make sure you cover them to protect your celery from the elements.

Space your celery plants out at least eight inches to give them plenty of room to grow and thrive. A weekly heavy watering schedule combined with adding a fresh supply of compost to ensure they receive the high amounts of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous they need should do the trick.

Celery makes for a great companion to plant to nearly all vegetables. However in a plant rotation avoid following members of the cabbage or lettuce family.

As you can see adding celery to your home vegetable garden is not that difficult of a task. Just follow these tips and suggestions and you can be adding fresh celery from your garden to your next plate of Buffalo wings.

Companion Planting in Your Home Vegetable Garden

Last Thursday I posted a simple question on our vegetable gardening Facebook page. I asked, do you use one crop to support another in your home vegetable garden? The comments and feedback were tremendous. Many people use this simple technique to take advantage of the limited space that they have.

Most home vegetable gardeners, me included, do not have the land size of what a traditional farmer would have; therefore we have to utilize what we do have. There are many methods you can go with such as vertical growing, crop succession and more. However, the one method I believe works best for everybody is the one I am going to talk about here and that is companion planting.

Companion planting is the process by which you plant your fruits, vegetable or herbs close together because they compliment one another. For example, plant your corn twelve inches apart, but in between each corn plant, plant some peas, beans or other vegetable or fruit that is an indeterminate vine. Indeterminate simply means you do not know how long the vine or plant will grow. The peas or beans will latch on to the corn just as it would a trellis.

There are a number of combinations you can go with such as planting carrots, a deep feeder, next to your tomatoes which is considered a shallow feeder. You can also take a plant that creates shade such as a sunflower and plant some spinach or lettuce underneath of it. There are entire books on the subject and combinations of good companion planting.

You can also utilize companion planting to help with insect control. For instance aphids love to feed on tomato plants and ladybugs love to feed on aphids. Would it not make sense to plant something near your tomatoes that attract ladybugs to keep the aphids away? Of course it would and good plants to do that would be dill, fennel or cilantro. These three herbs serve more of a purpose here then to just be grown for consumption, they will actually aid in the maintenance of your garden by attracting beneficial insects. Remember not all insects are bad.

In our earlier example of growing peas or beans alongside corn, I would recommend that you start the peas 3 to 5 days after you start the corn. Give the corn more time to get large before the peas or beans germinate. If you are going to go with a different indeterminate plant that grows as a vine, avoid ones that produce heavy fruit such as watermelon or pumpkins. You want the corn to have a companion, not a wrestling partner.

Most seed companies will put on the back of their packets other vegetables, fruits or herbs that make for great companions. When in doubt, look there before you decide to go through a lengthy Google search.

Just because you have limited space in your home vegetable garden, does not mean you have to limit what you grow. Take advantage of companion planting and the many benefits it has to offer and you will be well on your way to increasing the size of your harvest.