Monday, July 14, 2008

Planting natives.

For someone who is supposed to be a keen gardener I'm not very keen sometimes!
At the moment my vegetable growing efforts are being badly thwarted by mice which eat any seeds, parsley or broccoli I try and grow. It's a bit more difficult killing mice outdoors. I don't want to use a rodenticide as they cause secondary poisoning of birds that catch the poisoned mice while they are dying. Most baits cause internal hemorrhaging of the poisoned animal causing a slow death. When a raptor eats one they take in the poison too, slowly dying in a lot of pain.
Racumin is the only choice if I were to poison as it doesn't kill things that eat the poisoned rodents, but still, I'm just not into poisons! I may have to resort to Racumin though as I just noticed the mice are also eating the silverbeet which until this point had been untouched. Grrr.
I have just planted a Chorizema cordatum in the garden. It is a pretty understory plant from the forest here. I am hoping it will grow in the shady spot in the garden underneath an Acacia cyclops.
I am sometimes quite torn between the idea of growing food for myself or food for native fauna. We have a lot of legless lizards and fence skinks and the frogs but I love to see birds visit the garden and I also love insects. I want to grow food *and* create habitat. Most of the native plants are around the edges of the garden or out the front but the centre beds and other areas with more sun are best for food. Except the mice are putting paid to that. So just for today I'll just look at the locals and sus' out where to get some poxy Racumin and how to put the bait out in a safe way so my dogs can't get at it.
Edit: I bought some traps and put peanut butter on them. It's gross but necessary. I might put the 'humane' trap out too. We usually freeze the little's meant to be one of the most humane ways to kill something.


Cathode said...

Get a cat!
I swear to the amount of rat and mice carcasses I find (actually, I do swear coz the bastards usually bring them onto the patio and blood is an ass to get out of porous pavers).
Though where we are there isnt much native fauna to worry about them also killing.

oO, mousetraps set with either peanut butter or lemon drops (the sweets).

Alan said...

Sounds like you need a predator. I know cats are a questionable choice as far as their impact on native populations, but our fixed mostly tame, fairly well fed barn cats are hell on mice, voles, and other crawlies (as well as a few birds, not the barn pigeons, unfortunately.) Is there a mouse eating snake or lizard native to your area you could create a habitat for? Since you are lots of food and ideal habitat for the mice they will continue to increase until you or nature introduces something else.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

You poor thing. It is so frustrating when your garden is overrun by something. I'm with Cathode. An indoor/outdoor cat preferably a former stray because they had to learn to hunt, is ideal. We live in the country, and our Sophie has greatly reduced the mice population indoors and out. She doesn't seem to get any birds either.~~Dee

Vicki said...

Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, I am one of those anti-cat types! I'm sure plenty visit at night under cover of darkness when the dogs are inside. Next door has a few cats and they do come into the garden to bother the frogs!! I'd love a snake..there's a variety of python that used to live around here (back when there were local marsupial mice, no doubt).
We do have a few birds around that eat mice. I'll post the picture of the butcher bird I took last week.