I like the new raised garden area. It is, for the most part, WEED FREE (yes!). My vole problem has turned out to be a ground squirrel (chipmunk). Confusing .. I know. But after studying the destructive habits and telltale signs .. and seeing a chipmunk, he is making holes all over the yard surrounding the garden. The only direct damage inside the fenced off area are my gladiola bulbs .. half of which have gone missing .. and nice little mounds of soft dirt piled up in each back corner where they were planted below the wood chips. And to think I scolded my dog while trying to nab the critter last week when she upturned a small woodpile. I have found one dead (half eaten) vole as well .. that I have credited to the dog.
The downside to the raised beds .. onions are not growing well. The top inch or so of soil does not retain moisture .. and yet it is damp deep down below the surface. Next year I shall try filling the beds to the top with more soil so as not to cast shadows from the wooden sides, as this causes uneven plant growth to some extent ... and to apply some hay for moisture retention.
This week the strawberries have ripened supplying about a quart each day .. enough to eat and make some freezer jam.