Do critters eat winter squash or potatoes?

potterhead2(z5b NY)April 11, 2010

We have a lot of 4 legged pests in our area, which is rural and wooded. The most troublesome are the deer and woodchucks, so our small vegetable garden is fenced. The fence (6ft high chicken wire with electric wire around the bottom) has done a great job keeping the deer and woodchucks out. There are also about a hundred squirrels and a thousand chipmunks, but these don't really bother the garden.

However, I'm looking to expand into a small bed outside the fence to grow potatoes and winter squash (spaghetti, acorn, delicata, pumpkin).

Do you know if the above critters will eat winter squash and/or potatoes?

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cyrus_gardner(8)

Squirrels liked my gourds. Probably they will like squash too.
They are mainly interesred in the seeds not the meat.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:44PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

My neighbors left some squashes near their compost pile, today I noticed that they are mostly eaten.

Planting outside the fence in an area like your... don't expect too much. The animals will probably be lined up to either dig up the seeds, dig up the plants, eat the plants or eat the crop.

Sue

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 11:35PM
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glib(5.5)

Squash, forget it. I planted potatoes (and only potatoes) outside the fence many times without incident, but I have come to realize that my critters are better behaved than most (or more accurately, they have a lot of grass at their disposal). Surely deer prefer grass to potato plants, since I could see signs of grazing feet away from the unprotected potatoes.

I also have an unprotected herb bed. Ground hogs get into the sorrel often enough, but the rest is unattractive to them. Sunflowers (deer, squirrels) and sunchokes (deer) also get whacked hard outside the fence.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 11:44AM
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doug360

I have voles that burrow under my fence into the potato patch, it's a race each season to see who "harvests" more potatoes, us or them.

Rabbits seem to like my squash, fence first went up in response to Peter Cottontail munching down the zucchini trail.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 4:55PM
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promethean_spark

I found that deer will eat young squash leaves (not big spiny ones though), and they would also eat young fruit when it is pinky-finger sized.

I haven't tried potatoes, but they will happily eat eggplant and tomato leaves, which are similar.

The only edible plants deer seem not to like other than most herbs is onions and garlic.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 6:13PM
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dab07

Any pumpkins that got out of our fence got attacked. A local friend grows potatoes outside her fence without any problem, but this might vary depending on the particulars of your area. Even after I built an underground fence I found chunks missing from some potatoes. I'm still not sure who the culprits are, but I suspect slugs, bc it was worse the year I mulched with straw. They seemed to love the straw.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 7:43PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

I have deer wander around my yard last year the Veg patch was unmolested, and unprotected, they preferred the flowers on the other side, as where the potatoes!!! one day I went out and every potato plant had been munched! not by the deer, well that is my theory, as the tops fine, but bitten down at ground level, clearly whatever it was was, didn't like them but kept trying! still I did get some Pots, just not as many as I hoped.
I am working on 3 theories to do with the unmolested Veg patch by Deer, one is that they liked the flowers better, so they are staying (new house last year, don't like them but a great sacrificial crop, if I am right,) or the fact the veg is by the house and the security light spooks them? or that I have various structures in the bed? such as trellis for peas, bells, or maybe all three work?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:14PM
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