• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Mice in the hugel bed

 
Helen Sullivan
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Comment by Lisa Humphreys on Wednesday

Hi All - I did some hugelkulture beds last summer and they have returned great strawberry plants except where the shrews/voles agte the plants and built a big colony in there. Any ideas other than a cat (my son is allergic) that can help me keep them out of my hugel beds? did I do something wrong? Help!
(This is a repost looking for help in lots of places!)
 
Amedean Messan
pollinator
Posts: 928
Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
33
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My personal favorite and the best part its fun!



Decomposing corpses are fertile for the ground while adding plenty of nitrogen, yes . By the end of the day your going to be praying for more mice to kill!
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have planted castor beans and am creating plenty of habitat for snakes. I don't know if the first will work and the plants are exceptionally poisonous and a lot of people have snake phobias. You are dealing with a problem I have not been able to solve -- yet.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8982
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had mice initially but they seem to have gone away after the material settled. But mine aren't real hugelkultur, I'm using buried wood beds, which might not be so mouse-friendly. But there were definitely mice in there for awhile. I have snakes, but none I've seen large enough to actually eat mice, though they may keep mice away just by being snakes, even little ones. So I recommend making some snake habitat to go along with your mouse habitat. Snakes especially like rock piles.

 
Helen Sullivan
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hehehe wow. The rodentator! Yikes! Thank you all for the responses! I failed to mention that I'm in Alaska, so the snake thing is kind of out of the question. But, the idea of some kind of predator (other than a cat) is something to think about. I wonder if I could somehow encourage hawks or owls to hang around. hmmmm
 
Kat deZwart
Posts: 103
Location: Limburg, Netherlands, sandy loam
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Maybe you can get your hands on some "cat-by-products" (aka litterbox content) from a neighbour or friend. I've found that that's a real deterrant to mice, moles and other critters I don't want burrowing in my gardenplots. I open up a few tunnels, dump in the content and close it up again. I once actually saw I mouse moving her babies out of the holes and in to the woodlands. It's no-kill, no-poison. Just don't dump it on any foods you want to eat, but buried deep in the beds it will be composted eventually.

Ferretdroppings or dogdroppings might do the trick also.
 
Michael Newby
gardener
Pie
Posts: 634
Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
106
books chicken duck forest garden greening the desert hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Seems like chickens might be a good way to keep the population down. Build their run on the north side of your garden so it's not blocking the sun then let them in for a week or so in the spring and again in the fall. They'll help you till and give a little N boost.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
this says to me you left a lot of open air gaps in your hugel beds, next time back fill between the wood bits better with soil.
 
Helen Sullivan
Posts: 6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
More great ideas, and I agree, Jordan: next time more solid packed beds, I think. Thanks all
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hmmm well I've got mice-in-the-mulch. Air holes in straw seem inevitable sadly. However, I'm heartened by Tyler's post that they might push off as the material settles. With all this rain that should happen more quickly - I hope. That reminds me, I'm off to see if my pea seeds are up or if they got eaten.
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
104
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Keep a cat outdoors . We have a farm cat - a Tabby that has many generations of farm mousing in her genes. In the warmer months she prefers the outside and spends days and nights catching moles and mice. You can build her a nice cat house lined with carpet for the colder months. Just a suggestion - nothing beats a cat.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have 4 cats! Admittedly one is probably too old to be a really good mouser. One is a brilliant rat-er, another does rabbits, and the third is quite good if the mice DARE to run across the floor in the house but the outside mice seem to have the life of Riley. I hear owls close by but I reckon the mice are too well hidden, or there's just so many. The buzzards are quite active in the fields by day. Guess I'll just need to plant extra this year to take account of the losses.
 
Roxanne Sterling-Falkenstein
Posts: 105
Location: Cave Junction, Oregon
1
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally I'd just fill in holes with some super liquidy mud poured in and then pile on more dirt over the whole pile. If you can get your hands on crushed oyster shells (feed & seed 8$) add that to the mud mix ..rodents hate to dig through them. I used to line my double dug beds with it back in Santa Cruz where gophers are the county bird., it worked great...also used it when planting trees, as it kept the gophers off the main root ball. You could also cover the top with the shells before you add another layer of dirt, for another layer of discouragement. I had skunk problems with my new piles this year because the dirt settled down into bed and exposed the bones (logs) of the pile and giving the critters a way in. So I will also be re-covering and fine tuning the beds I made this year before winter hits.
 
K. Johnson
Posts: 57
Location: Missoula, Montana
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On mice voles etc nesting in beds, hugel or otherwise: Consider salvaging some metal screen 1/2 in. grid squares or so, like hardware cloth to cover the soil - or just the strawberry part. Lay it out in winter when the foliage dies back to the ground. It's a good idea when you're just starting a new bed of small stem plants like strawberries. It also keeps kitty kats from leaving buried treasure in the bed. If you are keeping out cats but nothing as small as mice, chicken wire is cheap and handy. It can be a headache, but it's worth it for some special plants. Like strawberries!

Also, I have some typical 4x8 raised beds that I found a nifty cover for. Home Depot carries 4x8 panels of wire welded on a 6x6 grind that bends into a nice low arch to cover the bed. It's lightweight and easy to bend and lift off the bed when I want to get into the bed. But the best part is I can lay on top it a piece of remay/row cover, or a piece of bird cloth mesh stuff, or shade coth -whatever. They are called concrete reinforcing grids, which is what they are designed for - to be buried in wet concrete. They rust, but I don't mind too much - it makes them disappear. they cost about $4- $5 each. Well worth the price imo. They come in handy for all sorts of things. We keep about 8 around the yard for temporary barriers, pea vine supports etc. Highly recommended.

KJ

 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic