Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tomato Turf Wars

After all that build up at the beginning of the summer, you're probably wondering why I haven't posted any tomato pictures. Well, it's because we've had very few tomatoes.
This is our actual first tomato harvest as of August 14th. Sad.

Cause: mice.

Those little bastards aren't happy with my compost any more. They are munching on all of my Black Krims that are ripe, or partially ripe. I haven't had a single one yet! Then, when that wasn't enough for them, they started in on the Green Zebra and the Romas. I admit, I let it go on for too long. I was hoping that if I left the one they were chewing on still on the vine that they'd leave the others alone. No luck. Those mice were too greedy.
My first ripe Black Krim! Nooooo!

After being depressed by the blossom end rot I've been fighting with and flea beetles, the mice were the last straw.

I'm not willing to share.

It was time to break out the big guns. DEATH was on the line! Tiny little mouse death. (Suburban Correspondent would be proud.)

I must admit, it makes me sad to have to kill them, but they're messing with my tomatoes and around here, that's a killin' offense. Since I don't want them to suffer, I put out standard mouse traps. SNAP! and they're dead. (Except for this one mouse, who was apparently using his foot to test the trap...but we won't go there. Note that Eric* rescued the little guy and let him loose.) I don't want to poison them, because they may crawl off and be eaten by a hawk or owl and then I'd have poisoned them. (And what a horrible way to go for both parties!) I don't want to use sticky traps, because then you're just starving them to death.

Instead, I chose the sharp, swift death.**

Within 24 hours, I had caught 5. This morning, two more. I sure hope the one that got away has told all of his friends that they're no longer welcome in the vegetable garden, because I really don't want to have to keep setting and resetting traps.

But I will.

Don't mess with Hatchet's tomatoes!

* Eric suggested I compost the mice and couldn't understand how I was wasting perfectly good compost material like that. Um, honey? Ewww!. I suggested we could leave them out in the open for a hawk or an owl, but he suggested we probably didn't want to encourage carrion eaters to show up in our yard.

I'm grateful for one thing: at least they're not rats!

** Just so you know, I'm taking full responsibility for my murders. I am the one setting the traps and clearing them out. I mourn each little mouse I kill. However, a gardener's gotta do what a gardener's gotta do. If you have a better idea, let me know. Seriously.


Anonymous said...

I too go for the kill. No pussy-footing around here! Most of the mice we see are introduced species anyway and they push out natives. So you're doing the world a favor.

We moved into a house once w/ a serious mouse problem. We caught 14 right off the bat. In our kitchen.


bad sara said...

have you tried that bird block netting? it's pretty cheap, you cut off a hunk and drape it over the plants in groups of say, five plants, cutting the netting so it reaches the ground.

especially with a garden full of netted plants, the squirrels/bird/(i would assume mice) will stop trying to get in pretty fast. plus, if some overly ambitious animal TRIES, dollars to donuts they will get caught in the netting. if they don't strangle themselves, you can cut them free and throw them into the neighbor's yard. or wrap them in the netting and take them indoors for an afternoon of kitty-fun.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Nicole: that's a LOT of mice! Aiee!

Sara: the bird netting's holes are too big - the mice crawl right in through anything 1/4" or bigger. Birds and squirrels haven't been a problem yet.

I'm up to 9 mice in total today.

IanB said...

You know what works better than mousetraps? Cats! You should get yourself one of those new-fangled outdoor cats.

I understand that they love hunting small creatures like mice.

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