Well, I suspect I spoke too soon in my earlier post about how well things were going out in the garden. About two weeks before Christmas I was anxiously awaiting the ripening of a beautiful bunch of Tigerella’s, some Zucch’s and my first ever crop of beans. The Tom’s had turned that ominous orangey-green colour that lets you know they’re only a couple of days away from picking, I was excited. Each morning I’d go out and lovingly cup them in my hands and coo at how magnificent they looked. I went to bed one night thinking about what I’d do with my first bunch, I’d decided one would not make it back to the house but the others? Maybe they’d go on a simple pizza or into a salad sandwich. I awoke the next morning ready to pick and…. they were gone.
All that remained of my beautiful babies were the stalks. I looked around at the rest of the patch, giant gouges had been taken out of half my crop, the zucch’s were chewed down to nothing and the beans…. let’s not talk about the beans, I’m still not ready.
Later that evening as I sat wondering what had happened to my crops, how depressing it was that all that hard work had been undone in one night I heard a god awful noise out the back. The cats were going crazy, I went outside with the torch and that’s when I saw them, three very fat and very cheeky RATS. The horror. I have never had a rodent problem before and had no idea what to do about it, at first I tried a ‘humane’ approach of spraying everything with a chilli spray to deter the late night chomping but I suspect this may have acted more as a garnish than actually provided any kind of deterrent as they continued to lay waste to my precious patch. Then Paul suggested traps as they would ‘take care of the problem’ without putting other neighbourhood animals in danger.
So we set traps and do you know what? The wily little buggers stole the contents of the traps and got away scott free. They continued to decimate the crops and I was growing increasingly despondent. When I came in one morning, tears streaming down my face with a bucket full of half eaten tomatoes, Paul decided it was war. We put out bait. It was not something I wanted to do but I was at the point where I was ready to pull everything up and give up this whole gardening caper for good. So we laid the baits, we put them in out-of-the-way places in nifty little boxes we made by cutting holes in milk cartons and by golly it seems to be working. They resisted at first but the last few days they’ve been taking the bait, quite literally. I can already see the difference this is making to my garden as since Christmas Day I’ve not had any late night attacks and have been able to pick what you see in the photo above.
So, fingers crossed we’ve got it under control. I feel terrible about having to lay the baits, it really goes against everything I believe in but what else could I do? I was worried that once they finished on the garden they would head for the ceiling and start chomping on wires (if they weren’t already there) so it seemed like the only option. As to the garden, there are two tomato plants which I suspect are beyond repair, they are both Tigerella’s. The critters have climbed up on branches and snapped them and they are looking more than a little worse for wear so I think I might just pull them out and put in a couple of new ones. The cherry tomato is still going strong, in fact it managed to sustain the least damage of all the vines. The zucch’s now have new shoots on them and I noticed that the beans were getting ready to flower again so perhaps all is not lost after all.
That’s one of the nicest things about gardening isn’t it? Everything can be regrown! So hopefully I can start the new year afresh, rodent free and watch my garden become glorious again. It’s going to take a bit of work but I think I’m up for it. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.