Anti-Rodent Potato Box, Hazel Trees, Savoys

Last year we lost a good third of our stored potatoes to rats and mice. We’ve never had a major problem with rodents before but our rodent control operatives retired. They’re like me, not as young as they once were. They prefer their meat from a tin nowadays – it doesn’t run away.

Trug of Early Potatoes for the store

I did set traps but they’re not that effective. The rats chewed through the potato sacks from below, avoiding the traps on top of the sacks. The few we caught were interesting, they appear to be a mix of wild and escaped pet rats. Quite pretty actually, shame they were in our spuds.

The Anti-Rodent Potato Box

This year we’ve started getting the bulk crops in and I don’t want to find them chewed up and covered in rat droppings. So a large box was constructed from thick plywood which was taken from an unneeded shelf I built a few years ago. In fact the whole thing was made from bits that were just lying around.

Given time they could chew through the box so I painted the outside with Cuprinol. Hopefully the smell with mask the contents and possibly repel them. If I do see any damage I can set the traps to the outside. I can also staple a metal mesh to the wood if need be.

The lid is in two parts – the thick ply is quite heavy. The back lid is solid but the front top lid has wire mesh so allowing ventilation. Without ventilation allowing humidity out, the potatoes will rot. The potatoes are still in sacks and the store is in the darkest part of the shed meaning light isn’t an issue. Light causes stored potatoes to go green which is problematic.

Hazel Nut Trees

There was a post on Facebook from Creating Welhealth Co-operative offering hazel nuts to grow. All they wanted was payment for the postage cost. They explain what they’re about on a card they enclosed with the nuts:

The aim of the co-op is to have all the basics of life’s needs – land, warmth and shelter, water and food, totally money free, free gratis; Increasing moneyless commons land and life resources for more people.

A laudable, utopian ideal. I doubt it’s hugely practical but hats off to them for doing what they believe. And if nobody tries then it’s certain nothing will change.

Sprouted Hazel Nuts, ready to pot up.

The nuts arrived sprouted ready to pot up. They even sent a little video clip showing how, which was nice of them.

Up to the shed where found some rose pots – extra deep plant pots – for them. I didn’t want to use multi-purpose compost for the pots but a growing medium that closer resembles the soil they’ll eventually be planted in but a little kinder on the babies.

Took some mole-hill soil, some leafmould, some old potting compost and soil from a raised bed. This was mixed in the big wheelbarrow and the seedlings potted up. With luck, they’ll be ready to plant in a year and nuts in four or five years after.

I’d asked for 20 seeds, 2 arrived damaged in transit but that’s OK. If I get 18 trees I’ll be amazed and figure 10 or more to be a win.

Hazels potted up in rose pots.

Savoy Cabbages

Planted out 14 savoy cabbages (Ormskirk) in a raised bed. Since we’ve lots of bunnies hopping around, sprayed with Grazers as a deterrent. Fingers crossed, we’ll have some lovely winter cabbage.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
6 comments on “Anti-Rodent Potato Box, Hazel Trees, Savoys
  1. John Morris says:

    I had the same problem. An old timer on our plot told me to find an old filing cabinet. I did, on eBay. A four drawer cabinet for a fiver (I had to collect locally). It’s been a revelation. Rodents simply cannot get in. Cannot comment on modern filing cabinets, but mine is circa 1980 and no narrow access gaps. It also affords a decent amount of frost protection too. It sits in our garage and even with -10°C last winter, the potatoes in hessian sacks were unaffected by the cold.

  2. John Morris says:

    Yes, an old, 4 drawer steel filing cabinet.

  3. Linda Ashton says:

    Fantastic thank you for all these wise and clever ways to help people like me
    Thank you

  4. Graham Willis says:

    I have 4 wooden boxes made from old doors with slated bottoms and vent holes drilled into the sides, cover allarond with fine chicken wire and a solid lid . not had anymore ‘rat or mouse’ problems.
    UMMM… this may be down to new neighbours with cats,or the foxes living under my shed……….

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