After a significant investment in bulbs and the time it takes to carefully lay out the garden and plant, nothing is more frustrating than having underground critters devour what they assume you left out for them.

Moles and voles will consume an entire garden within a very short time feasting on the newly planted bulbs and tubulars from your garden.

There is a secret to keeping them at bay – not only protecting your garden for this season, but allowing the bulbs to come back the following year. It comes in the plastic baskets that normally come from the grocery store with tomatoes, strawberries and other fruits.

Here’s how to prepare the garden and to plant your bulbs:

  1. Each container will take 6 square inches of space. Normally, this would mean that one bulb goes in each container. In our experience it is best to put two to three bulbs per container.
  2. Make sure the pointed end is up.
  3. Secure the bulbs in place with some dirt.
  4. Separate the containers in the ground by 2 inches
  5. The trench for the containers should be about 4 inches deep.
  6. Cover the rows of containers with topsoil to a depth of 4 inches above the top of the containers
  7. Water the topsoil enough to make the dirt and the containers moist.
  8. You have protected your beds from moles and voles, but you still have to look out for the above ground pests. Chicken wire fencing will help keep deer and squirrels from the blooms.

The plastic baskets will secure your bulbs for a few seasons. They also make it simple to dig up and store in trays during the winter months or to replace bulbs or switch your color scheme for the next season.

Article by Don Green, a LEED AP biologist who specializes in environmental policy, low impact development, green infrastructure, energy/water nexus, water quality, erosion and sediment control, stormwater and environmental education. Contact him at

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