Mummy Muddy Paws

Latest posts by Mummy Muddy Paws

keeping mice off pea seeds

Posted: 17/04/2013 at 17:21

You have to move the traps, they get to know one of their mates goes in there & doesn't come out!  I can't use conventional traps any more, we had one that went off in a shared house at Uni, & didn't quite do the job.  I drew the short straw & took it outside in a plastic bag (made sure it wasn't see-through) and a housebrick.  Not nice, but a lot nicer than the mouse dying a slow, agonising death with a broken back.  I was one of two vegetarians in the house (I'm not any more, meat is dinner!), so was really not a happy bunny.

Blackest, peanut butter was the third thing the rentokil man said to use to bait traps.  I remember the first two, as I have them in the house, but never really been a peanut butter fan, so don't  have it in the cupboard.  Tuna and chocolate spread always in the cupboard.

Advice on my overgrown garden (inc pics!)

Posted: 17/04/2013 at 14:54

Rotivation - good way of propogating brambles and other perennial weeds by chopping the roots up and spreading them around.  Mini-digger better idea, as you can grub out most roots.  Works best if you have a helper grabbing the roots as you dig them up.

Rotivation a big no-no - I was hoping to do similar, the experts on here have persuaded me to dig by hand, and not make a big problem into a huge problem.  BTW, the garden isn't that overgrown, I've been dragging out 12ft bramble shoots out of mine over the weekend!

Rip it up and start again....

Posted: 17/04/2013 at 14:49

Trouble is, lots of folk want summat for nowt, and aren't prepared to put in the graft (ie, get in the car with spade and go and dig up stuff they want).  I suppose the other thing you could do is dig them up yourself and car boot them, if you have any other stuff you want rid of, that could net you some money towards your lawned area.

I've seen adverts on freecycle where people are asking for leather recliners in a certain colour, flat-screen TV's (old CRT ones no good, actually specified on the ad), lots of folk out there get a bit fed up of want, want, want, with no stuff offered in return (I have ads where I'd like shed/chicken coop/greenhouse, but I'm prepared to travel to dismantle, and put the graft in, not a single reply - not that I blame them, these things cost lots new, so lots go on ebay.

One chap put in an advert on Freecycle wanting a porshe (not sure of spelling), very tongue in cheek, specifying colour, year, etc, and asking if it could be valeted and have a full tank of petrol before they delivered it to him.  Made me laugh, as lots of very demanding posts, will really bad spelling and grammar from one particular poster the previous week.

When I've advertised, I've given the stuff to the first person that asked nicely, with reasonable spelling.  If I give stuff away, I'd like it to be appreciated, and so far everyone that's picked stuff up have been nice to meet.  I've had some quite rude responses - no thank you, no please could you consider me - one just asked when she could pick stuff up!!!

Maybe I should put this on the rant thread, don't like people being rude when you're trying to do them a favour!

Rip it up and start again....

Posted: 17/04/2013 at 12:00


Firstly, I'd get a skip and get rid of all of the rubbish you don't want.

I'd also put an ad in freecycle for some of the shrubs you don't want, must be dug up & removed by person collecting.  Make it clear about what you want to keep, & what they're welcome to take.  If no takers, then dig everything up you don't want.

Getting a bit late to grow lawn from seed, you may have to wait until next year, or later on in the year to lay a lawn from turf, as the weather is warming up, it would need a lot of TLC to get the turf to bed in properly, unless it's done by the end of April, other time to do it is September/October, then a sharp frost could kill it all if it's not rooted by then.

I think what I'd do, is a lot of the digging and clearing and levelling now, then cover the lot with weed-supressing membrane, and cover it with bark chips.  That way your LO will have somewhere safe outside where they can play.  Turf is very expensive to buy, so save up for some decent stuff and do it around this time next year.

Gardening is a slow process, so as has been mentioned in some other threads, don't expect an instant transformation.  You look like you have a lot of pots there, so you could maybe grow flowers in some of those this year, and transfer them to flowerbeds next year.  If you intend putting a swing or climbing frame in at some point, I'd keep the bark chips around that, they're a lot more forgiving on hands and knees than falling onto grass with solid ground underneath - grass won't survive directly underneath the swing, so bark chippings look neater.

I will be using the weed membrane/bark chips option later this year, when I've cleared the top part of my new garden of brambles, bindweed and nettles, whilst I get my veg garden started and some money saved for turves next year.

keeping mice off pea seeds

Posted: 17/04/2013 at 11:45

Use mouse traps, the electric ones if in the greenhouse, they are safe to use with cats (I have dogs and children).  You can also buy the conventional traps that are in locked boxes that your cats won't be able to open.  Bait the traps with either tuna (wouldn't recommend as it will drive your cats bonkers) or chocolate spread - nutella or something similar.  Don't use cheese, mice have a sweet tooth.

We occaisionally get refugees from the fields at harvest time or during harsh winters, I like the electric traps, as they are safe & clean, you do need to check daily as they have a light that flashes geen if the batteries need changing, and flashes red when it's caught one of the little buggers.  Pick it up inside a polyethene bag, open the trap door and the corpse will fall into the bag, double bag it and put it in the dustbin.  Reset the trap by flicking the switch off & on again, and off you go.  Most mice are like women, they will go for chocolate over peas every time!

sanity in need of restoring

Posted: 16/04/2013 at 23:43

I've got a garden covered in brambles & bindweed.  I also suffer from ME/CFS.

Take it slow and steady, a bit at a time if you can, rather than going like a bull at a gate and doing yourself injury.  'Pacing' is a technique you have to learn with ME, self-management is the only way to deal with it.

Put the fruit trees in large 30 litre containers (you can get 4 for 16.99 plus p&p from ideal world - go through topcashback, get some money back by buying them from there, the code 675736 will also get you 20% off)  They will be quite happy in there for a couple of years, until you can get an area cleared - then you will make sure you've planted them in the right area.  So not tonnes of rubble like others, still a big job with lots of digging.

I enjoy the garden, time on my own, to think and dream, and the ache I get is a different ache to the illness aches and pains, it's a good ache, and if I can see a difference in the garden after an hour or two I'm happy.

Don't turn it into a chore.  It's very therapeautic, something to be enjoyed, rather than endured.

slugs and toddlers

Posted: 16/04/2013 at 23:23

Paint the outside of the containers with bitumenous paint.  Slugs don't like tar.  Try standing the containers on a large patch of gravel.  Slugs don't like crawling over sharp things.  Double bands of copper tape around the tops of the containers - gives slugs an electric shock.

More than one way to skin a cat, more than one way to kill/deter slugs.

I have two children, nearly two and four years old, and haven't had to use slug pellets for a few years.  The fact that the next-door neighbour has a pond with lots of slug-hungry frogs also helps!  I try not to use pellets if I can help it, I don't like slugs and will happily chop them in half with my weeding knife, I just think there are better ways than pellets.  What works for one gardener won't work for another, you have to find a way you are happy with.

If all else fails, patrols at night with a sharp knife/bucket of salty water and a torch will do a good job at controlling numbers.

Just moved into an old house... huge ANT nest in flower bed :)

Posted: 16/04/2013 at 14:35

Paper Flowers, I would have kept digging, the baby ants would be a nice snack for the birds.

I think in both cases it would have been out with the ant powder for me, a friend had this happen once, and didn't do anything about it until they moved into his house - I'm not joking, his white UPVC kitchen door was literally black with them.  He's particularly squeamish, so he called rentokil or some other such pest controller, I'd see how to go with ant powder.  Rentokil were particularly helpful when I rang to complain one of their electric traps had malfunctioned (red light was flashing, bloody mouse still alive, don't know who was most surprised, me or the mouse), and asked for advice about getting rid of them (we still get the occaisonal refugee at harvest time), we are quite rural where we are (edge of village) and the farmer has been prosecuted for throwing all sorts onto his dung heap (dead chickens, pigs, you name it, it's been on there).  Farmer still in business, but now built a 10foot wall around his premises, and the stench coming from there on some days is unbearable - anyway, that's for the rant thread.  I think I'd buy some ant powder, and then ring the helpline number on there, to make sure it's OK to use on flowerbeds. 

I'd do it TODAY, you really don't want the problems my friend had getting rid of the ants (or the bill for it).  I'd also be concerned about foundations if they're nesting right next to / underneath your house!

Sweat pea -disaster

Posted: 15/04/2013 at 23:44

Buy new seed, could try soaking existing seed overnight & re-sow.

If you only need a few, I'd go with a quick trip to B&Q.

Getting rid of Bindweed

Posted: 15/04/2013 at 20:50

Back garden is in two bits.  Top half used to be lawn, it's now covered in a ford mk2 Escort, a ford Sierra, brambles and bindweed.  It has a garage down one side, with a lean-to perspex greenhouse with a tree that's grown through the roof, it's not salvageable and OH wants to extend the garage (I've agreed as long as he stops putting cars on the 'lawn').

The bottom half has two 6x4 sheds (I think - not been able to measure them yet), in a fairly bad state of repair).  Looks like the brambles started in the top half, I don't think they're going to be as bad in the bottom bit, don't think they've reached that far.  There's a step about a foot down, with a small retaining wall between top & bottom bit.

The grand plan is to replace the sheds (or repair them,) and add one for me as a potting shed, plus a small greenhouse when funds allow.  The top half will be traditional family garden, tough shubs, some flowers for scent & bees, and a lawned area.

The bottom half will be mine, all mine!  I'm planning some raised beds down there, same size as a chicken coop (also when funds allow) and practice crop and chicken rotation (so a year where the bed will be fallow and have the chicken coop and run on it, so they can trash it, and enrich it at the same time).

All this will take a fair bit of time and money, both of which are in short supply at the moment, so my priority is getting rid of the brambles, plonking some membrane over the top bit and putting down bark chips so the LO's can play out.  Also getting at least some of the bottom dug over, so I can stick crops in - fed up of paying a quid at a chuck for stringy runner beans, when I know I can grow them.

It doesn't help that it's not our house - was Father-in-Law's house, who was a hoarder, so house needs gutting and redecorating.  So I can't just nip out and spray glyphosate for 10 minutes.  The house is only over the road and down two doors, but I can't leave a boisterous 4 year old and very nearly 2 year old for even 5 minutes - even going to the loo I risk WW3 breaking out

Think I'm going to have to be ebay and car boot queen for the next 6 months, maybe I'll earn enough for that greenhouse I've been hankering after!


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