HELP (AGAIN)!!! (Gardening - General) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

HELP!!!! I have two dilemas today. One is the problem of something that is tunneling around in my garden spot. Yesterday we had heavy rains which we haven't had in months. I noticed this morning that there are tunnels (about the diameter of a finger) all throughout my garden spot. What could this be and how do I get rid of "IT".

The second area in question is that I had planned on improving my soil this weekend by doing a soil test, adding vermicullite, peat moss etc., and maybe even getting some seeds planted. I've heard that you should never work your soil when it's wet so should I skip it this weekend?

PS - STILL having problems with stray cats using my garden spot as their litter box. There is more doo-doo in it now than ever. Really grosses me out. I think I'll try to shovel it out when ever I get in there to add the "good stuff" to the soil. Do you think the cats will continue to use it even after I've improved the soil and planted? I hate to think that these stray cats will be digging up all the seeds I plant when they potty. EEEEKKKK!!! I'm about at wit's end. Please help.

-- Greenthumbelina (, April 27, 2001


Well not sure what the holes are from but I can help on the other things. Well I've never had a problem working the soil when its wet, here in OK where its heavy clay which goes rock solid you can only work it when its wet. Wets good for major tilling (its easier to work), followed by lighter tilling to break up the clods when its dried out.

Ahhhhh cats. The only thing I have found that works is laying pieces of chicken wire around and covering that with mulch. The more you work the soil the softer it gets and the better kitties like it. I've had cats dig up newly planted plants in their quest for the perfect bathroom spot. They don't like the and can't get thru the chicken wire. I just cut out places to put my plants right through the wire.

-- Stacia in OK (, April 27, 2001.

Don't work the soil when its wet. Its about the worst thing you can do for a garden (experience speaking here!). Here's the way to check if soil is too damp or dry enough. Take some soil, place it in the palm of your hand and make a ball out of it. Now tap the ball of soil. If it crumbles apart into several pieces... its dry enough to work. If it stays in a ball, or only splits in half, leave it be- too wet. Working soil thats too damp will compact it (make it into a dirt road bed!). Compacted soil makes for small plants- they have to work so hard to get roots out, they just dont do good. There are plants you can plant to remove cats.. Dont quote me here, but i thought mint? I have had the cat sh*t blues, too. Seems like they like to christen the new soil, then leave it alone within a week. Sounds like that is not your case though. If all else fails... ELECTRIC FENCE. A side tip for getting rid of persistant cats camping on your porch. I love cats... but sometimes thay can be a real nucence. Take some metal mesh screen. attach a car coil- hook it up to a car battery with a toggle switch on it. When cat is in the midst of spraying your door, flip switch. Cat gone! This won't kill them, just give em a little scare.

-- Kevin in NC (, April 27, 2001.

1/2 inch in diameter??? Small moles maybe?? They tunnel under everything. Garter snakes are another possibility, but cats like to kill them... Hmmmm.... Anyway, for the moles there are gizmos on the market, but they are generally electric - other than that, I wouldn't know.

Depends on the soil. No, it isn't good to work it when its too wet. Plus, its a lot harder on you. Damp is great for pulling weeds, though, lol!! Just make sure its far from soggy, and you are all good to go. I don't bother with vermiculite and perlite. I usually opt for gypsom or sand (usually sand - its cheaper) instead.

I understand why you want a soil test, but if you want to add peat, etc anyway, I used to do this at my Mom's place.... (Depending on the area to be covered): 4 bags manure, 4 bags peat, 4 bags sand, and powdered lime sprinkled over till it looks like a cake that's been frosted with powdered sugar.

I've had 7' tomatoes and 5' zucchini on those plots - and everything produces wonderfully. So, if your going to add some of these things anyway, why not save on the soil test. I have found that the plants will tell you if you need something else, and the pH from doing it this way is near neutral. I also mulch using shredded newspaper, with grass clippings, etc on top of that.

I've had stray cats around forever, too... Also a couple housecats that weren't - you know what I mean. Anyway... I (just me) have never had a problem with them digging up plants. Doo... yes... normally just right where I need to kneel, too... !@#$%^&!! They hate walking on tinfoil, but that gets expensive. And, it doesn't work all the time.

Kevin is right... But be careful of which mints... catnip is a mint!!! Pennyroyal might help, but all my pets have loved both peppermint and spearmint, and so have the dogs. Planting catnip in an area away from the garden only offers limited relief. They don't go for it 24/7...

If you have moles, snakes or mice, you will never be rid of the felines.

-- Sue Diederich (, April 27, 2001.

We have what folks call voles here. Haven't a clue why they always correct me from saying Moles, look the same. Anyway, they don't really harm anything.

The repellent crystals you sprinkle around your flowers and gardens, work really well. They are sold in the Jeffers Pet Catalog, and I am sure lots of other places. 1800-Jeffers. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, April 27, 2001.

You got mole crickets! Here in the south that's what we call them. They can be picket up and put into your hand. They are about an inch and a half long and resemble a gray cricket. They have two strong front feet that puch sidways (apart) that make the tunnels. They are a PEST and will eat any and ALL roots. You must kill them before planting. Check with the local farm and garden store. Or use that diatamatious earth. (see other article above.) Good luck.

-- Eve in FL (, April 27, 2001.

I'd agree they are probably Voles too. They are tiny little moles, with huge hands and no eyes. They are really weird lookin little dudes. But don't worry, if it's just voles they won't hurt you. My cats bring them to me. Stick the hose down the hole and see what comes out!! Be ready to run! just kidding, he he.

-- Cindy in KY (, May 01, 2001.

Voles eat the grubs under the dirt and therefore are not bad to have in the garden. Moles on the other hand will eat your plants and bulbs and you have to get rid of them. From the size of the trails it sounds like they might be voles.

-- Colleen (, May 03, 2001.

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