Some challenges we have had in the green houses during the winter months are voles and pocket gophers. We placed traps in there runways outside their holes. This was a success. Voles have a path or runway they like to use to enter and exit the garden. If you ever see a vole, watch where it runs!! It is likely that they will run the same route over and over. We tried using bubble gum on the trap and they seemed to find it irresistible. Then we tried nothing on the trap and that worked as well. The key is to place the trap in the right place.
Pocket gophers are more challenging. They only live under ground. Evidence of pocket gophers includes fluffed dirt and your plants suddenly missing. Last year one 30 ft row of kale went suddenly missing due to the pocket gopher. This summer we built an 18-inch deep fence around the garden. Hopefully, this year we will have better luck at keeping them out.
At Shoshoni, we rotate our crops through the seasons so that the dirt always has a chance to replenish. Green manures such as clover, vetch, winter rye, and the legume family have been successful for us at this altitude. Green manures can be used after crops that take a lot of nutrients from the soil such as the brassica, cucurbit, and the allium families. It is best to grow green manure for a full season in order for the soil to be replenished.
Composting and worm-composting are also great ways to enrich the soil. Our compost piles exist in a field protected by an electric fence. The piles are surrounded by hay bales, which minimizes the smell. We layer our compost with food or plant clippings, hay, and dirt.
Gardening with green houses has shown me what is possible in the mountains. Green houses are a great way to extend the garden and possibly grow year round. Fresh vegetables from the garden can help enrich your life with good health and taste satisfaction.