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Whats eating my seeds

Hello my first post on here, I have some sweetpea, nasturtium and bird of paradise seeds sown in pots on staging in my polytunnel.  Every morning when I go in there , I find small holes dug in the compost and it spilt over onto the bench, not sure if the all the seeds have been nibled or not, but they have definitely have eaten the bird of paradise seeds as you can see signs of bits of them on the surface of the compost.

I also have onion seedlings in modules and a couple of them have half been dug out and compost again spilt over the side.

It must be something very dainty and light footed as other things around are not disturbed.

Has anyone got any ideas please.




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  • DinahDinah Posts: 294

    This one I may know. Mice or rats I think. Maybe squirrels if the poly-tunnel is well secured all but a high vent. I notice that you have some affiliation with cats. If you cover the plants/seed trays with chicken wire (against possible mistakes re: litter tray look alike) and put the cat/cats in there for a few hours each week on a shady day, the smell of the proximity of them is often enough to deter a rodent.

    I have read lots of complaints about cats in gardens, but out in the countryside we know exactly what cats are for (beside being some of our best furry friends). They prevent rodents from getting into places where we are storing food, seeds, grain, bulbs etc. Keeping the cats off growing plants (and bird feeding areas for that matter) is no problem, you just put wire over the treys, tables and beds. I suppose they could be more of a problem to some people than the rodents in towns and suburbs were keeping things looking tidy and containing children in small areas is important, but I think that out in the countryside they are the most humane and effective solution (short of a ferret perhaps).

    For those concerned, since fortifying my bird table I have had one bird death this spring, which related to some accidentally split bird food - rather sad but not too bad a record considering there are 11 cats cohabiting here. No mice or rats in the house or sheds - not a whisker.

  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632


  • DinahDinah Posts: 294

    Oh! I just thought, if you do put the cat/cats in the poly-tunnel, don't forget that cats seem to be very interested in eating slug pellets. I have to dig out little pits in the soil and cover them with half coconut shells pinned down firmly with tent pegs if I ever put the pellets down. Most of the time it isn't worth my using slug pellets because it is such a big operation making them cat proof - better using saucers of beer or citrous fruit skins to collect them.

    Also, you'll probably find this obvious but others may not know, don't use mouse or rat poison anywhere if you do have cats. Cats have even be poisoned by eating a mouse that was dying of poison, and they sometimes eat rat poison despite it's blue and cereal based nature - horrible thought, but worth keeping in mind. Sorry to go on and on when your question was so straightforward - one thing always seems to lead to another in my garden!

  • thecat2008thecat2008 Posts: 2

    Hi, yes I do like cats, but they do not go in the Polytunnel.  Today I found my cucumber seeds pulled out, of the pot.

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  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    there is only a certain amount of mouse and rat catching a cat can do.

  • LeggiLeggi Posts: 489
    Many of my own seedlings and seeds have been eaten by mice over the years, I only have a small garden and already have three cats! I find if you can germinate the seeds indoors before moving them outside it decreases the amount of damage they do, however they will still eat young seedlings (especially young succulent things like sunflowers), so you may need to out smart them on that too. Nasturtiums, for example, can just be sown liberally where you want them to grow and the probability is the little fluffy fiends won't eat every seed sown.
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