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Mice or voles

On my allotment I'm plagued by either mice or bank voles eating my veg!  They eat out the tops of my carrots and have gone along my row of runner beans and bitten the plants off at the base, and they love it when I plant pea or bean seeds. Don't want to put down poison.  Have tried putting chilli powder down and gorse which works to a certain extent.  Any ideas to help would be very welcome.

Posts

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,921

    used cat litter (liquid not solid waste), preferably from a tomcat works well for me

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,894

    If you don't have a convenient tomcat to, er, harvest:

    Don't sow direct, especially peas and beans. Sow in modules and plant out when the plants are bigger (at least 6 inches tall) with the gorse if necessary. Keep the modules on shelves - mine are on shelves suspended on wires in my little polytunnel (the b***ers broke in to the tunnel - ate through the plastic - when I tried growing peas and broad beans over winter in there). I think as spring progresses they eat other things so a relatively small obstacle will deter them. In the coldest months - Dec to March when there's hardly anything else around except nettles - anything I plant needs very elaborate protection, so most of my winter crops are either tough stemmed brassicas that are too tough by that time of year or grown in tall pots in as open a position as possible so they have to break cover for too long. If you don't have many owls, buzzards or hawks in your area, maybe get one of those 'hawk on a stick' things intended to scare off pigeons. I've not tried it but I think maybe a moving shadow would make them less bold.

    I grow carrots in an old tin bath - too high for both carrot fly and the mice.

    I find they leave the parsnips until the top growth has died back, generally, so after the first frost takes the greenery down, I dig up all the parsnips at once and store them inside over winter rather than leaving them in the ground.

    I have lost a whole crop of runners the same way as you, about 4 years ago. I have since been very strict about weeding round the base of the plants (I had a companion crop of nasturtiums growing round the beans that year - trying to reduce soil evaporation) and have not lost the plants again (touching wood here). I tried growing an extra couple of rows of beans this year on new ground and put down chopped comfrey leaves as a fertiliser. That was enough cover for the mice to be back and they've gone through the whole lot, but my 'main' crop in the cleared bed haven't been touched so far.

    Oh and don't cover crops with fleece or plastic tunnels - that's practically breakfast in bed. Bird netting seems OK - too transparent I think, at least the black stuff is. I do use a very fine net to keep the butterflies off my brassicas. Those plants have to be at least 12 inches tall before they go out under that or I find the leaves rolled up and dragged into holes in the lawn next door. image

    So far they don't seem much inclined to eat chard or beetroot

    Last edited: 31 August 2017 15:23:48

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