Onion sets being dug out and left

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Woodland Jennifer, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. Woodland Jennifer

    Woodland Jennifer Active Member

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    Location:
    Nakusp British Columbia
    I live on twenty acres in a very rural area with neither neighbours nor stray dogs. Our veg. garden is very large and deer fenced.
    I have, at present, about 400 onion sets planted with another 200 to be put in. Something is pulling them out of the ground and leaving them there. Yesterday, after a day in town, I came home to find 35 pulled out. I had them covered with chicken wire lying on the ground. I pushed them in the soil again.
    Last year, the first time ever, something was chewing the edges of pea leaves, leaving a scalloped edge. They didn't grow. Ditto with another row planted later.
    Also, two rows of Chinese cabbage at about an inch high, totally disappeared.
    We have been gardening here for forty years and none of these things have happened before. We have a stray cat of 17 years who lives here but all she, or those before her have done is, dig in my seeded row until growth starts there. I put short metal fencing over new rows and all is well.
    Thank you.
    Jenny
     
  2. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Kootenays, BC, Canada
    Peas and Chinese Cabbage sprouts are well liked by voles. Are your Onions eaten as well, or just pulled up?
     
  3. Woodland Jennifer

    Woodland Jennifer Active Member

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    Just pulled up and lying on top of soil. We have a lot of mice or voles in the garden. They make tunnels all along the rock wall and I think it was they who girdled two very young Sugar Maples in our lower garden.
    I am interested to hear that peas and Chinese cabbage is liked by voles.
    The last three years something ate the bottoms of the beetroots. I pulled a couple up and only the very top and leaves remained. I thinned the rows, pulled one whole row out and had no more trouble there. Also, something nibbled at a few potatoes.
    Thanks for your response.
     
  4. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Could be voles, as well.
    According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vole: "Voles will often eat succulent root systems and will burrow under plants or ground cover and eat away until the plant is dead. Bulbs in the ground are another favorite target for voles; their excellent burrowing and tunneling skills give them access to sensitive areas"
    Voles like dense vegetation they can hide in, so thinning the rows was a good thing to do. By doing so you probably destroyed some of their tunnels, what could help, too.

    As for the Onions it is rather a mystery.
     
  5. Woodland Jennifer

    Woodland Jennifer Active Member

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    Thank you. I shall make sure I have sufficient space in rows from now on, rather than close planting.
     
  6. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    I have seen crows pull young plants out and leave them lying on the soil. Someone told me once that they were looking for worms etc. that like to live close to roots. But it's darn annoying!
    keke
     
  7. Woodland Jennifer

    Woodland Jennifer Active Member

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    Thanks for this info. Knowing that it is probably birds helps in knowing how to protect it.
    We are going to buy some deer fence and make something like a cage, the wire being about one foot off the ground.
    By this evening there were more pulled out, now put back in and pressed in firmly. It is bucketing down here so that should help.
    Jenny
     
  8. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    It makes sense. The crows are probably attracted by the mice and voles to Jennifer's garden and are looking for something for a dessert in the Onions roots. Another possibility is they confuse young Onions with Corn. Crows are very well known for pulling up Corn seedlings and eating the sprouted seeds.
     

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