Ive had it. they are a constant companion in my garden, and last year my feral whatever thrash about - which really did work surprising well for the previous 5 years- largely failed in the rain drenchings we got through mid june. so did most conventional gardens, actually...
and my third year with spuds was 1/3 the volume of my second, less than 1/2 my first. I should have learned things and it should have gotten better. the rains seem to have drenched out all the snake populations and im left here in Nov without any spuds from my soil. first time. and bummer.
I was doing caged towers. Now im switching to tower like prison planet methods. sigh.
voles got 60% or more of my meagre potato production. no snakes in two years... brought a cat in but too late...so im backing off my fukluoka-esque tendency towards wilder every year, and this coming year buckling down on the staples.
were building raised beds with sheet metal roofing for sides. the roofing metal is anodized aluminum, so doesn't rust in ground contact, even in my wet clay soils. x2 lumber would work as well, ive just got so much of the aluminum that cant be used for roofing or siding. hassle to haul it out, and low salvage value...the anodizing makes it a poor recycling option. so its being re-purposed.
Under the cribs will go ground liners. the ground liners are 3-4 layers of heavy duty burlap coffee sacks grabbed from a roaster. one can also purchase canvas or landscaping burlap. with some wire mesh over them, continuously attached to the inside of the wood cribs this forms a draining membrane that also resists excavation. the cribs will be about 60X30, allowing for @12-16 seed sets each. Ill fill them with compost and mulch as the plants start up. There is also plenty of room for companion plants.
not a "permanent fix". However, I am finding I tend to move stuff around as I get different ideas, so nothing annual stays in one place in my garden long. Mollison advocated for the use of all kinds of things we might find questionable, and I tend to understand this, though Im not rushing out to go tear up low carpet from trailer homes to act as a pond liner. I do draw some limnits.
still, they should last 4-6 years before I need to worry about the liners, if my previous liner use is an indication. and I can move and re-use the bins If i don't bang them up too much.
my primary concern is that voles climb- I dont know if they can leap and scurry up the metal, and hope they cant. wood is entirely different. Many varieties of vole can climb a single vertical twox4 as fast as we can walk its length. Hows that for extreme climbing? these would likely be great with problem gophers, and other non climbing rodents. If the voles do climb in, its back to the thinkity thinks.
Im digging them in about 8" inches, and the tops will be @28" above grade.
Il post pics as we get them in.
dont talk to me about euphorbia. I think the voles ate it.
While digging up our potatoes this year we found vole holes and trails. We plant our potatoes above ground in hay so its kind of a given that voles will come too. Surprisingly I've only had minor losses caused by them. Slugs however took a large portion of our potato crop. I think its mostly my fault for leaving them in the ground a bit too long and not putting out slug traps or hand picking.
the deal is - and same with beets- I went out to see if they were quite ready, tops green, wilty though, potatoes substantial. I think "4 days, week tops" and 5, 6 days later- gone. almost all of them. beets went the same way.