Need advice for large plot in Central NC

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by j27243, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. j27243

    j27243 New Member

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    I live in Central NC, zone 7a. Most designs I have seen seem to focus on squeezing as many plants into a small of a space as possible. I have plenty of space (acres) although it's just me and I need a design that is non labor intensive. My biggest problem here is critters; squirrels, rabbits, moles... This will be a home farm that doesn't necessarily have to produce income.
     
  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I think what you would find is that those people, like me dont have acreage to play with.
    It would be a good idea to take a look at how the 'Zones' work.
    I think the books, 'Permaculture One' and the 'Permaculture designers manual' cover these.

    The idea is to have closest to the house, those things where you visit every day, like the vegie garden, the chook yard and the glasshouse/greenhouse.
    The least visits the further out you put them, so things like a native wildlife corridor would be on the outer edges.

    I dont have the problems you are facing and cant help you with them.....never even seen a mole or squirrel, lol but imagine that they too have a part to play in your lol ecology if you could just figure out how and where.

    As far as I know the rabbits and squirrls are very edible and could not under any prtection order so......you could just eat them and save yourself a few dollars in the process.
     
  3. j27243

    j27243 New Member

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    I would love to find a natural way to control the critter pests without having to shoot them.
    There are some foxes and coyotes in the area but obviously not enough to control the population.
    Perhaps keeping a dog inside the garden but I need to find a way to do that humanely for the dog.
     
  4. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Like Mischief I'll recommend the same two books for a good base knowledge reference library start.
    Now to critter control, Fencing will control the large animals, be sure to use a dig barrier (usually fencing either buried around 2 feet deep or splayed out away from the actual fence line around 2 feet. Some people have enough rocks to use those as a don't dig here barrier, since a tunnel will be collapsed on top of the digging animal as they try to dig under the barrier. Squirrels are a little harder to control since they can jump from tree to tree, so the best thing for them is an open space at least 20 feet from branch tip out side the fence to branch tip inside the fence. Hot wires top and bottom are also good ways to deter critters but they normally involve only the larger animals since squirrels can avoid most installations of electric fencing. Moles are worm eaters but they have smells they don't like enough to avoid areas that contain those smells, or you can get a heavy roller to collapse their tunnels, not a great option since that also compacts your soil. Mole traps are fairly labor intensive since you have to check them often. Garlic, growing around the perimeter of your plants will deter voles and moles, the key is to plant at least two rows, offset so they create a complete barrier. Hope this helps you with some ideas.
     
  5. j27243

    j27243 New Member

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    Thanks for the ideas.

    What if I had an inner fence with the garden and an outer fence with goats. Do you think goats would keep away squirrels or rabbits?
     
  6. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    I've never seen a goat deter rabbits or squirrels. Dogs will do that far better than most other animals.
     
  7. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    moles are not garden pests, they are helpers in that they help with
    drainage.

    what they do is eat worms/grubs, which isn't great for a garden, but
    it is acceptable as part of the natural cycle. the other thing they do
    is provide habitat for frogs/toads/snakes/turtles/etc.

    the real earth digger pest is the vole... those are best controlled by
    a functioning ecosystem with some natural predators (they come and
    go around here, i've never bothered to try to trap them).

    as Bryant said the fencing is the best approach for many creatures
    (for us rabbits, deer and groundhogs are the worst herbivores,
    squirrels and chipmunks aren't fun either, but they are more
    selective in what they eat). and then there are the raccoons which
    are too clever, possums and skunks. raccoons mean we don't
    even bother trying to grow sweet corn here. the rest of the gardens
    they mostly leave alone.

    i suspect it is groundhogs which have been eating the beets (now
    harvested so that doesn't matter any more). we don't have a very
    good fence...

    i only hunt chipmunks/rabbits/groundhogs if their population gets
    out of control. i would like to not have to hunt any of them at all,
    ever, but that ideal is not quite here yet. the past few years i've
    convinced Mom that putting out the poison baits for mice was
    actually acting as an attractant for them (and the chipmunks too).
    since we've removed the bait stations i've only had to selectively
    trap just a few mice (from inside my car *phew!*).

    removing habitat for the groundhogs here is one of my longer
    term goals (filling in a drainage ditch that comes up into the
    middle of the back yard/gardens areas). that would go a long
    ways towards helping out with them and also the rabbits which
    hide under there too... that isn't going to happen this season...
     

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