Friday, July 31, 2015

Garden 2015: Rotten green beans and... RATS! oh my

I've been facing a major dilemma in my garden for the past few weeks. RATS. I'm not sure how or why a family of rats (yes, rats, not field mice) has decided to make a home in my raised garden bed. I've seen tiny field mice from time to time, but not rats. I saw a few holes dug in the garden and initially thought they were from squirrels digging around. But then I noticed that they weren't holes, they were actually tunnels. Then my husband saw what he swore was a rat in the garden.

So we set our trap. Not a kill trap, but a cage trap for live animals. I had no plans to catch and release a rat, but it's all I had at the time, and I was in a panic to get rid of a rodent. We tried and failed to catch a groundhog in this cage years ago. I would've release Hermie the groundhog had I caught him, but alas, he was not meant to be caught.

So the next morning I discovered that we had caught a rat! Now what? My dad scolded me and said you should only set kill traps for rats. Releasing one was out of the question, although he was so CUTE, all 8 disgusting inches of him.  Getting bitten by one was to be avoided, naturally. My sister is relentless about killing rodents, and she told me to smash it with a shovel or hammer, or stab it with a knife through the cage... these are all ways she's terminated rodents. Just this morning I received an email from her titled "Death by Flashlight" where she went into detail about the latest way she killed a tiny innocent mouse.

I didn't want to release and smash him or stab him through the cage. So I threw the cage in my rain barrel and drowned him. I'm not sure if that was a cowardly thing to do or not. All I know is that I cried and apologized to him the whole time. Yes, I know it's a rat...they are ichorrible killing it. My husband comforted me when I sent him to his liquid demise. I asked him why he didn't "man up" and do the deed for me. He replied, "Because you're the cold-blooded one." How nice.

But now that I got rid of one, I'm ready to move on to more. So yes, I guess I am cold blooded. I saw a FAMILY of rats running around the garden this morning. I yanked up all the green beans since they were rotting, either because of all the rain we've had or because of rats digging around the roots. Now I need to permanently evict them because I think there's time to plant a second batch of beans.

As cute as the rat was, I opted to not take a photo of him in the cage. I guess that was because I knew what I was about to do to him and would feel guilty about it. But maybe if I catch the rest of the family, I'll be cold blooded enough to take a few snapshots. We'll see.

Black Krim Tomato plants are loaded, but they are starting to yellow some.
I've been saving eggshells to add around the plants for a while.
Kale has been pecked by birds or bugs.
Beans were rotting, maybe from too much rain, or maybe because of the rats.

I've planted spinach in my garden many times and it's always been a failure. Most of the time it didn't germinate. The one time it did germinate, it only grew an inch or so before it died. I usually plant morning glory vine in my trellis pot, but I read that it was dangerous for dogs. So since we got a new pup, that was out of the question. I saw a pack of Climbing Spinach which is ornamental AND edible. So I thought I would give it a go. And it's growing pretty darn well right now. We've eaten it raw a few times, but the leaves are a bit thick. Steaming and sauteing them seems to work much better.

Climbing Spinach... it's a little tougher to eat raw, but still tastes good.
I found many half eaten green beans. 
Yanked all the beans... there are a lot of tunnels & holes.
Now I have a poison trap and a cage.

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