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Peas and rodents

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  • Peas and rodents

    I'm mourning the loss of two lots of peas pretty well wiped out by rodents in my polytunnel in the last couple of days. This happens regularly and each year I'm more careful with frames and pegged down mesh or fleece, but of course a tiny chink or a tunnel under the defences and they can be feasted on easily.
    I'm in admiration of the pea breeding reported by many here and wonder whether I'm just unlucky with my rodent population, or whether anyone has a way of protecting peas in their early stages when they're just a few inches tall. Cut off bottles can be used to protect beans but I can't quite imagine surrounding every group of young pea plants with plastic bottles - or maybe this is possible? Any tips or experiences would be eagerly received!

  • #2
    Sorry Jan, this is only a small part of my pea garden every year. I have also lost just too many. Works well with tall peas, but the really short varieties need a much shorter bottle which does not give quite the same protection.

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    • Galina
      Galina commented
      Editing a comment
      I should probably have made it clear that the bottles stay on all season. The plants grow out through the top. It works well for two or maximum 3 pea plants per bottle. A lot of work, but they stay safe. We had not just the initial rodent problem but also the voles which bite through stems of mature beans and peas.

      Transplanting when they are a little larger might help too and making sure that the remnant of the original seed is well buried. But for me it had to be the more laborious "bottle garden" to be safe, especially for treasured new varieties or breeding stock, where I only have very few seeds.

  • #3
    Thanks Galina. I was beginning to think that’s the way I had to go. Yesterday before I saw your reply I planted out broad beans in the polytunnel and put a bottle round every plant. I’ve been cutting the tops off the bottles as well as the bottoms but I see from your photo that that isn’t necessary.

    I guess you can sow two two or three pea seeds in a module and plant out each clump with its bottle? Doesn’t lend itself quite so easily to the guttering method perhaps?

    As a matter of interest, I don’t recognise the plant in the foreground. Please could you identify it for me?

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  • #4
    Ah yes, thank you. Of course! I do grow salad burnet but outside my vegetable garden. I was thrown by what looked like a much larger plant. Didn’t allow for the foregrounding! Must use it more.

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    • #5
      What size bottle are those Galina? We don't buy many bottles here and mostly they are the smaller 1 litre. The ones you have in the picture look more 2-litre size? Do you think 1-litre size would work?

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      • Galina
        Galina commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes they definitely do work. These were the pop bottles when the kids were still living here. I am still using most of them, but all the newer ones are the 1 litre tonic bottles. One bottle does last for at least 10 seasons and, if anything, the smaller bottles are easier to push into the ground without buckling at the edges.
        Last edited by Galina; 28-12-2019, 05:43.

      • jayb
        jayb commented
        Editing a comment
        Good to know, thanks. We have a few of those in the recycling, I'll dig them out and put them aside.

    • #6
      Feel for you jang, I often have lots of problems with mice and voles. The damage they do can be so frustrating and disappointing and often it's when you think things are just starting to grow!

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      • jayb
        jayb commented
        Editing a comment
        I thought that too about stacking them, but the two mixer bottles (schwepps) I've got so far don't fit inside each other, annoying. Perhaps others do stack?
        Hope you have better luck.

      • Jang
        Jang commented
        Editing a comment
        How annoying. I’m away for a fortnight (best time in the growing year for a holiday!) but will report back on bottle stacking on return.

      • jayb
        jayb commented
        Editing a comment
        Oooh how lovely, I hope you have a gorgeous time.
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