You can put down Perma-Til for your vole problem. I think it is expanded volcanic rock and has sharp particles. They cut themselves and living in the soil like they do, this can be fatal for them. If they hit sharp particles they leave that area and don’t come back. It is a permanent solution for the area you apply it in. Also, I’ve used gypsum (calcium carbonate w/sulphur) and the potatoes love it and grow huge and the voles hate it. Another solution is to put out Milky Spore to kill the Japanese beetle larvae in the soil the moles are searching for, so they don’t make tunnels which voles, being opportunistic, use later. Applying regular sugar (the cheap stuff) broadcast over an area feeds microbes which kill the larvae also. Any of these methods should work.
Congratulations on a good harvest in spite of critter problems! We have a trace mineral mix we always use also, to build the soil, it has the major stuff plus all 80 or so trace...Maury’s Mineral. All natural and organic sources, my husband makes it. It also has active microbes to break down minerals. I hope we get caught up with some of our big farm projects so he has time to write on Permies, as we have a lot to share.
I’ve planted potatoes as late as mid August and got a crop, and our first light frost is in late September, followed by a really hard freeze by early October. In fact, it was the best crop I’ve ever had, beautiful, perfectly shaped potatoes, delicious tasting, stored well, and we used gypsum on those and plenty of rotted leaves. No compost at all because I didn’t have any made.
A nitrogen deficiency is usually caused by insufficient calcium which governs uptake of all minerals, but the microbes have to be active or calcium won’t uptake. They have to digest it first and then die, releasing a plant absorbable mineral near the plant roots. The rainwater has plenty of nitrogen if other factors are there to unlock it. This is our reasoning for using microbes (actinomycetes convert nitrogen) and minerals and we use little else and our crops are simply amazing and delicious. Puts that old fashioned flavor back in the fruits and vegetables. Adding pure nitrogen is one of the most detrimentable things you can do to the soil. It can kill your microbes, attracts voles, it makes plants uptake as nitrates and makes them toxic. Use a little compost, it has the microbes and other factors, including organic matter to balance everything.
My husband says he always used humate and a little mineral to grow potatoes. Potatoes also like phosphorus and we use soft rock phosphate. They don’t use nitrogen added to soil anyway, they get it from the air. In our rainforest east coast (southern Appalachian mts.), it is best to hill up before planting and plant them in the top of the hill so it will shed water. Mulch a lot, but this way the excess water can run off so they don’t tend to rot as much. This year we’ve had excessive rain and flooding and it destroyed a lot of stuff. We had 8 inches of rain in one night. Really hard on the garden.