In mid-September I planted several winter lettuces, spinach plants and chard in my greenhouse for the winter. The lettuce shot up and I’ve been harvesting leaves since mid-October. The chard and spinach didn’t seem to grow particularly fast (the ones I planted outside have actually grown faster) and there were signs of nibbling. I assumed slugs until one morning I walked in to see a small hole in the soil. Hmmmm…hello little mousey!
Now, I have my own chickens which tend to mean rat problems at least once or twice in one’s chicken rearing career, so I have previously investigated ways to deal with an infestation. The options basically come down to a) kill them b) catch them and move them or c) dissuade them. My preferred option is to dissuade them. How? By removing the three things they seek – food, water and shelter.
So it was with a slightly heavy heart that I decided I’d rather let the mice move on and leave my greenhouse empty for the winter. I opened the doors, the chickens went in (so did my dog) and within seconds the lettuces, chard and spinach were devoured. The soil has since become a dust bath which the hens are loving and if there was any chance of the mice popping in to say hello my dog soon dealt with it (he’s very good at sniffing out pests and digging huge holes in my veg patch!)
Needless to say, I’ve seen no little mouse holes in the greenhouse since. I only hope they don’t move on to my raised beds outside!