Well, last week I had some visitors in hoop house #1. Between the red and yellow markers in the picture to the left is the entry to my fashionable little eatery for rodents to my considerable woe and dismay. After all, I had come to expect that I could just run out to the hoop houses and just gaze at everybody happily growing and looking all green and purple and whatever. This was not so one day. The preceding night, much of my orach, spinach and a healthy percentage of my yellow chard had provided for the appetites of small rodents I suspect are voles. I researched the topic, and based on the diameter of the holes and the nature of the theft, and the general location next to a meadow, voles are the first on my short list of suspects.
I had needed to thin my seedlings, but this wasn't what I envisioned somehow... Anyway, following Internet research, I consulted the local hardware store where I was told I'd have to gas 'em out, and I placed a couple calls to farmers in the vicinity (one keeps farm cats, and the farm cats must keep a steady diet of small rodents), and checked a couple of organic gardening books for suggestions. My plan ended up being to block the meadow-side of the hoop house with 1/8 inch hardware cloth as far down as I could get it (6 inches was recommended), reinforced with rocks of course, and a snap trap down a tunnel. So far, my efforts have prevented further incursions. The snap trap has been sprung once, but we think it was the wind.
We'll keep you posted.