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I have a plot in a community garden, and this past summer I planted New England pie pumpkins. They did VERY well (I had close to 20 fruits on 4 vines), but just before I harvested them some rats moved into the garden and destroyed them. The method they used is very interesting (and I'm sorry I don't have photos) - they scraped/ate a hole into each pumpkin, then scraped out all the seeds, and then left the seeds, pulp and hollowed out pumpkin just lying there! In one night they went through ALL the pumpkins!

My questions are: What do you think they were doing, since they didn't eat all of the tasty food left behind? And, for next year, do you have any suggestions for how I can protect the squashes from the rats?

There are some good ideas here (Keeping rats from eating my plants), but I don't think these will protect the individual pumpkin fruits, and there are limits to what I can do in a community garden space.

Thanks for any and all creative solutions!

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How sure are you it was rats? Because they will eat the flesh as well as the seeds, whereas chipmunks and squirrels tend to prefer the seeds... mice and voles also like the seeds. There is some guidance here http://pumpkinnook.com/howto/gardenpests.htm in regard to deterring such pests.

  • Thanks for the link! I'm pretty sure it was rats because it happened over night (and rats are nocturnal), and that next day there were rat droppings all over the garden that weren't there the day before. I realize I don't know what squirrel or chipmunk droppings look like, so perhaps I mis-identified those. – KMerkens Nov 30 '18 at 14:13

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