I hate those meeces to pieces

There’s almost nothing that can be done on the allotments right now. On 201 we can’t paint fences because the wood is too wet, we can’t dig because the soil is too wet. On 235 we were chagrined today to discover that something (mice?) has been along and eaten several of the broad beans we carefully protected with double-glazing panels just a week ago.

So we had a mystery: mice, birds, some kind of insect or monopod? We think it’s mice and there’s not a great deal to be done about that, except that June, our neighbour at the other end of the site, when we’re working on 201, gave us a tip. If you grow your beans and peas in pots, when they’ve got a good root system you can just lift off the pea or bean from which they grew and which is what attracts the mice to the plants. So when we plant our spring broad beans in the greenhouse, that’s what we will do. For now, on plot 235, we’ve simply put some more twiggy branches around the plants in case it’s birds, and stuck some bamboo canes that were dipped in Jeyes Fluid around the perimeter of the plants, in the hope that it will confuse the noses of the mice.

And Sunday is Seedy Sunday here in Hove actually, so I hope to find some seeds to swap/buy and I’ll tell you all about it next time!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, January 29, 2009

7 Comments:

Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

I've never been troubled with mice eating my vegetables. Are they digging for the beans themselves, just planted, or feeding on the foliage ... I can't imagine them doing the latter.

February 1, 2009 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Z said...

My mother once watched a pheasant pull up a whole row of young broad bean plants, just to eat the seed off at the root. Since 9 pheasants now live in or around our garden, I have the feeling that not much will thrive in the veg plot next year.

February 1, 2009 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

I've also got another question which I fear comes under the heading 'old gardeners' tales. Remember I'm only in my second year of vegetable gardening :)

I was proudly showing a friend my broccoli on Sunday, and then pulled one out by the root, cut the head off to cook for tea, and cut the rest up into my compost bin. My friend asked me why I did that, as if I simply cut the head off, the plant would grow another head and I could keep cropping it.

I can't find the answer by Googling, possibly only because it's such a stupid question no one has thought about even mentioning it.

My friend was just having me on, wasn't he? He was the sort to that, then carry on the joke as long as he could. (If not, I've wasted four out of six plants I've grown this year).

February 1, 2009 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

The mice eat the beans, not the foliage, Mark and I agree Z, pheasant and pigeons are the worst culprits for bird predation on peas and beans - little sods that they are.

Mark - I hesitate to say but your friend is right! Regardless of the kind of broccoli you grow, you'll almost certainly get another, smaller, harvest in 4 - 6 weeks time. Purple sprouting is wonderful for this, often giving three harvests, but almost any broccoli should give you a second crop ... if you don't dig it up!

February 4, 2009 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

Well damn!

I've only got two of my existing plants left. Planted another six seedlings two weeks ago, but I suspect I'll only be able to crop them once before winter.

But all that waste: I probably could have had another six heads now for no effort. Good news for next year though.

(I'm trying to think of what else now I'm routinely pulling out to eat that I shouldn't.)

February 4, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Emily H said...

I've just discovered that mice have been eating the sprouting brocolli shoots on my allotment. Proved by the fact there are mouse poos all over the branches :(

March 4, 2012 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Emily, you can try strewing holly or other prickly plants on the ground around the stems, but for them to be taking psb there must be very little else around for them to eat and holly probably won't deter them. How do you feel about mousetraps?

March 6, 2012 at 3:48 AM  

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