Battle for the Tomatoes

The tomatoes were finally starting to kick into full production. Heirloom tomatoes were nice and plump and I was just waiting for them to turn their beautiful red color. Only to check on them one morning and find them half eaten. Then they started to disappear altogether. Was it dog, bird, horn worm, or something even more sinister? I was investigating the complete disappearance of my heirloom tomatoes, when I discovered the culprit. I found a large red tomato and a couple of green ones partially under the fence and half eaten. The mice have returned and have taken up residence in the new fence. I firmly believe that these are relatives of some former UC Davis lab experiments like the mice in the movie, “Secret of Nihm“.

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I couldn’t use poisons and these genius mice have outsmarted every conceivable trap. That’s when I found the ultimate weapon against mice. Mint! Mint is like Kryptonite to mice. Luckily, I have two large containers of peppermint which I promptly moved over to the tomato section. I cut up leaves and sprinkled them in the cracks of the fence and around the plants. I make peppermint tea and sprayed it around the area. It’s been a week and only one tomato has been snatched. I have found that if I am not diligent about sprinkling fresh mint I risk the Ratatouille/Secret Nihm hybrid’s return. That’s why I went to our local nursery and bought some reinforcements. I bought Curly leafed spearmint, Mojito Mint (apparently from Cuba via Canada), and Silver leaf mint. I potted them (as mint is an invasive species) around the vulnerable plants and will continue to hope for the best.
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Natural Ways to Repel Mice

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Mint:
1. Place dried and/or fresh mint in areas that mice like to dwell. Whether that be kitchen
cabinets, fences or your garage.
2. Make mint tea and spread around the area.
3. Add peppermint oil to cleaning products.

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Sweet Pea
1. I haven’t tested this out yet, but Sweet Pea has been reported to discourage mice.

Ammonia:

1. Again, I haven’t tried this but the smell of ammonia is said to repel mice as they interpret the scent as a predator.

Other Suggestions:

1. Per the nursery lemon balm is also effective, as well as basil, rosemary, or any other strong smelling herb.
2. Cayenne pepper sprinkled around the area will also scare away vermin.



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