Author Topic: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds  (Read 1801 times)

newspud9

  • Half Acre
  • ***
  • Posts: 231
Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« on: May 11, 2021, 18:51:51 »
Maybe other growers have come across this before, but here's a little success story.

No matter what I've tried previously, (presumably) mice have always dug up my pea seeds before they've germinated.  Last month, I covered each seed with a mini-cloche made from used tropical fruit-salad containers.  They're about 3" diameter and same in height so a perfect size, and being transparent, you can see when germination has occurred.  I use a hot metal skewer to make a small hole in the top and then poke a wooden kitchen skewer through the hole to secure them into the earth. A bit of soil around the perimeter keeps everything firmly in place with no gaps for anything to get through/in/under or whatever. A row of them looks a bit odd but so far, I've had 80% germination rate and no signs of any disturbance.  Hope others find this of help and good to hear what others do.

Allotments 4 All

Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« on: May 11, 2021, 18:51:51 »

Silverleaf

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,226
  • Chesterfield, clay, acidic
    • The Rainbow Pea Project
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2021, 19:04:52 »
I germinate my precious breeding project peas indoors and transplant (food crop peas are down outdoors though).

I know mice arenít supposed to be interested once they germinate, but Iíve had problems with something eating the seeds even when the plants are several inches high, often chewing through the stem at the same time and killing them.

Sounds disgusting but Iíve had success with scattering wet litter from my catís tray around the area (not touching the peas). Nothing contaminated with poo of course, cat faeces is nasty stuff, but I figured that mice would keep away from the strong smell of cat urine.

Beersmith

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 701
  • Duston, Northampton. Loam / sand.
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2021, 21:19:21 »
It is impossible to grow peas in my area without nets.  The pigeons would destroy them in no time.

So I simply put the nets (with a fairly small mesh) on at the same time they get sown.  The nets pegged down close to the soil seems to provide an effective barrier.  I sow a little deep but do not firm the ground immediately.

That said, I really don't know if the local mouse population is low or high. Maybe I'm keeping them off, maybe there are just not many about!  Germination this year was not perfect - I'd estimate 60%. No problem as I sow a little bit more densely than recommended.

PS This is for snap peas, which we prefer.
Not mad, just out to mulch!

JanG

  • Half Acre
  • ***
  • Posts: 239
  • Gardening on fen silt
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 06:32:18 »
Thanks to Galina, Iíve begun to use two litre water or milk bottles with the tops and bottoms cut off. This is after starting the plants in modules though. The bottle cloches round two or three plants, secured with a short stick or cane, are tall enough to stop pigeons as well as any other mice or voles which might nip them off above ground level. The bottle cloches have made a huge difference to my pea success. If Iím sowing and growing quite early in the season, they provide some wind and cold protection too.

Pigeons of course will have another go when the plants are fully grown and thereís enough of a bunching for them to sit on top and have a good go at them. Then nets or string or sparkly things help.

Plot22

  • Half Acre
  • ***
  • Posts: 160
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2021, 08:02:34 »
I chit my pea seeds on damp kitchen towel in margarine containers in my office cupboard. I make sure that there is a decent root on them and then set them wholesale in 4" wide rows which I cover initially with clotches or wire netting making sure that the seeds are pushed into the soil. I never have trouble with mice eating them. Once the plants are 4" tall I put barrier netting round the rows to keep the pigeons off.

gray1720

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2021, 13:10:50 »
This works for me:
https://blackadderquotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/all-mouse-diet.jpg

(TBH, judging by the amount of cat turd I find, no mouse will dare show its nose round my peas. I used to like cats until I had my own garden...) 

My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,761
  • Vendťe, France
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2021, 14:09:39 »
The RSPB sells a sonic cat deterrent you might want to check out Gray.

Years ago on The Big Dig there was a biodynamic gardener who soaked her peas in paraffin for a day before planting them.  Said the smell keeps the mice off.
Obxx - Vendťe France

gray1720

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2021, 14:23:11 »
Unfortunately, SWMBO has bat's ears, and can hear the "ultrasonic" deterrents too...
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

Paulh

  • Acre
  • ****
  • Posts: 458
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2021, 19:29:47 »
Don't leave your trowel out next to the row?

 :tongue3:

Tee Gee

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,740
  • Huddersfield - Light humus rich soil
    • The Gardener's Almanac
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 13:40:57 »
I found that sowing time was often a factor for mice eating seed peas. If I sowed them outdoors quite early say pre May mice were sometimes a problem. I put it down to there was very little suitable foodstuff around so they resorted to digging up pea seeds.

With later outdoor showings I would point out straight into the ground then water them in with a very weak solution of water and Jeyes fluid this seemed to deter them plus there were often easier pickings elsewhere in the garden.

To over come the early sowing problem I sowed my peas in cell trays then planted out the modules when they were around 4"-6" tall. Then as a precaution I would sometimes water in the plug plants with the same weak Jeyes fluid solution.

I often got the feeling that this deterred the pigeons as well. My belief is; like so many cases in nature smells can be an attractor as well as a deterren so I went along with nature!

This link will take you to a webpage showing how I grew my Peas http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk/Content/P/Peas/Peas.htm

Click on the pics to enlarge!

Vinlander

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,677
  • North London - heavy but fertile clay
Re: Tip for stopping mice from digging up pea seeds
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2021, 11:49:21 »
Yes. The early pea pleases the hungry mouse.

Tall peas can be sown in guttering (because you need fewer plants) - though I find that's much too shallow to keep them well-grown until the mice look elsewhere - so I put a train of bottomless brick-shaped pots/rings in the gutter first - I make these by cutting out the straight section of 3L milk containers - they also mean the clumps slide out neatly into the trench and the ring can be lifted off or left as a slug barrier. You can also fit 4 in a seed tray, but then you need to wrap the bottoms so you can lift them out (leaving the bottom attached along one long side works OK as a flap).

With early dwarf peas this is too much work, but I find anything that stops the mice sniffing them out will do the trick - you can even lay mesh straight on the ground because they can't be bothered burrowing under it even when they have smelt out where they are - obviously the mesh needs to be 5mm or less, but "metal lathing" used by plasterers is perfect - and often available in skips - the gaps are also big enough for the shoots to emerge - I'm not saying that mice never eat shoots but the real prize is the seed.

Give peas a chance (Lennon) - the price of peas is eternal vigilance (disputed)- if you want peas prepare for war (appropriately that's pinched from "Vegetius" ~430AD).

Cheers.

PS. Funny smells on the seeds will put the mice off - but only for a couple of years,  they learn to associate the smell with food - they are hungry enough to not care about the taste and they are smart enough to take the skin off anyway... You could try a different smell each year, paraffin, jeyes, white spirit, jeyes, paraffin etc.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

 

anything