Thursday, 26 February 2015

Mouse Wars!

Posted by Rosie

Right, that's it - I am officially fed up with the mice stealing my seeds and war has been waged.  I had a long chat with a friend last week and a plan was hatched.  I need to get seeds sown but I need them to not just be mouse fodder so I have come up with what is hopefully a mouse-proof container.  I already had a cold frame in the polytunnel but the mouse could dig in to it through the soil underneath.  I have now put some boards under the frame and because they were not a perfect fit I have also lined the inside with fabric.  Oh yes and that is 2 mouse traps inside as well.

Mouse proof cold frame?

Today I sowed beetroot/sweet peas and placed the chard and summer cabbages that I had previously sown under a propagator in there.  The leaves are some lettuce seedlings I have bought that I am hardening off a bit before planting them in the polytunnel. I am also worried the mice will eat them so since taking this photo I have moved the mouse traps to where I hear mice squeaking, under the shelving and when I plant out the lettuces I will place the traps nearby.

As a back up plan I also have an old fridge I could use, turned on it's side, the door removed and a plastic lid fitted. At the moment my still slightly dodgy back isn't up to transporting the fridge to the polytunnel so that particular plan in on hold just for now ... however old, clear, lidded storage boxes may well also be bought into mouse-proofing duty.

I will report back next week as to the success of this mouse proofing.  Also if the temperature creeps up just a bit and the sun comes out I will try sowing some tender seeds such as tomato, pumpkin, courgette etc.  In fact, thinking as I type, I could start these inside and once germinated move them to the polytunnel.  As the cat is no longer allowed upstairs and he was , in previous years, responsible for upending and/or weeing in seed trays, I could start seeds under my bedroom window and move them once germinated.  I suspect it is a bit chilly in the loft.

Speaking of the loft, the mangetout I sowed up there last week have already germinated and the beans are almost there.  Yay, let the veg growing begin!

Germinated mange-tout seeds

In other news I have taken delivery of more seed potatoes.  Many of the varieties I used to grow in the UK are not available in France so as a friend was popping to England recently I asked if she could get some seed potatoes for me. I now have a total of 6 varieties chitting in the left room:


King Edwards and Kestrel from England
BF15, Desiree and Charlotte that I bought here - I've never grown BF15 before but another friend recommended them.
A variety called Reine de something which was a freebie from my local agricultural supplier/garden centre.


Chitting potatoes

I do now feel that things are moving in the right direction in the garden and this despite the pretty much horrible weather we have had all week.  There were moments of sunshine, like when I was showing Annie (from Mammasaurus, who stayed in the gite last week) round the veg garden but they were brief and we were soon sheltering in the polytunnel as rain turned to sleet turned to snow!  It was wonderful to meet Annie, in person, having corresponded through the medium of social media for what I have just realised is exactly a year.  This is my 53rd HDYGG post and I have not missed a single week. I love the record it is building of the garden here at Eco-Gites of Lenault from one week to the next and over the changing seasons and I love reading the exploits of other gardeners.  Thank you Annie for running the link up and thank you for coming and staying here.

Simple Wanderlust

20 comments :

  1. so great putting a face with the garden and all the hard work. looks like the kids had a great time at your place. how about getting some outside cats to get the mice?

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    1. As I think I said on Annie's blog - we have four already! They are great mousers but can't get in the polytunnel at night.

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  2. Ahhh thank you for showing me and the kids around, they LOVED it as much as I did and are still talking about Ginger and Toggle now. Exactly a year was it - spooky coincidence that is!

    I'm glad to see Mouse Wars is game on and that you are on a mission to grow - hopefully they'll get bored without so much to munch on and wander off. If all else fails we'll send you a giant cat onesie and you can sit in the polytunnel wearing it ;)

    Thank you for joining in again (x's 53) and again it was lovely to finally meet you ! xx

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    1. Me in a CAT ONESIE would definitely scare off the mice :)
      And it was lovely to met you and yours too x

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  3. Mon Dieu! 53 HDYGGs! That's impressive. I linked up today for probably my 5th time! But then I'm not much of a gardener. Now I'm on a mission to visit other people's lovely gardens - public ones. (Such a shame I didn't visit yours when we met - not public however!!) I hope you get your mice under control.

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    1. I also want to visit more public gardens especially if they have lovely potagers for me to ogle over.

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  4. I really hope you win your war against the mice Rosie! All that's missing from this post is a photo of you with warpaint on your face! I like the record building aspect of hydgg too, it's really nice to look back on this time last year and see what was happening. Loved seeing your garden from Annie's perspective :)

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    1. Thank you, Gemma. It was fun meeting Annie too :)

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  5. Fingers crossed your mouse war is a success! Loved seeing your gorgeous garden from Annie's point of view

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    1. Thank you - I feel we are finally winning against the mice.

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  6. Oh I so hope you win your battle with the pesky mice. A whole year of HDYGG - congratulations! Wonderful post x

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  7. i suspect we too will have mouse wars so i will love to find out how your doing. My hubby has a question for you as we are doing our spuds too and it looks like you have a good years worth their for your family, how do you store them once they are up ?

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    1. I use old animal feed sacks which are double thickness paper which I then store in a shed with extra bags over for added darkness. If we have a very cold winter I also cover them with something like an old blanket as the temperature can fall below freezing in the shed. Have you got a local farmer you can ask for sacks or failing that I am sure a garden centre might sell something suitable? Large dog food bags, is paper might also work. Definitely not plastic though. I also check the sacks every few weeks for signs of rot/blight.

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  8. Those mice are in for a shock I think-I love the fridge idea and hope it works for you :)
    Your excitement for seed sowing is infectious, I need to get organised!

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    1. Of course it could all be horribly early!

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  9. Let the mouse wars begin! We had a mouse problem in an old Georgian house in the past and, after the usual traps failed, I managed to catch lots of them with paper towel old rolls balanced over plastic boxes. Mice would run along the roll to eat a treat at the end and the roll would unbalance straight over into the box with them!

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    1. That sounds so ingenious, Kriss. We've caught loads in the house traps. Since moving the traps to the polytunnel (and not catching one!) I have heard one in the ceiling above the kitchen and I am sure it is both wearing clogs and bowling with some of my seeds it stole!

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  10. I hope you beat the mice! It looks like you are getting prepared with seeds and potatoes. We have ours ready they just need to be sown x #HDYGG

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    1. It is still early though, Kirsty. Don't panic just yet!

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