Trouble in the cold frame

I started lettuces from seeds inside under lights with NO heat which I then transplanted in the greenhouse on Feb 3rd. I also planted spinach, arugula and bok choy in the cold frame.

Everything in the greenhouse is doing great. Every nite I flip the winter weight row cover over them to protect them from the freezing nites and flip it off in the day so they get more sunlight. They are all under cages I built to keep mice out-works beautifully.

Unfortunately, in my cold frame, when I uncovered them, I don’t have any cages and mice munched 29 spinach plants (only 1 survived), 8 Bok Choys, and chomped 2 of the Arugula (I guess they didn’t like those much).

I hadn’t gone out in a few days after I planted the spinach/bok choy on Feb 3rd because the days/nites got really cold but that didn’t stop the mice! Only 1 spinach made it-the rest were eaten down to nothing. I still have 8 severely eaten bok choys and all the arugula that I re-dug up and they are back in pony packs inside again under lights to see how many will actually survive. To help with all the shock, I water with seaweed fertilizer and Vit B-1 (for plants). Meanwhile I need to tighten up the lid on the cold frame to hopefully keep them out (this coming week when weather is nicer). I will put out a few sacrificial survivors in about a week to see if the mice still get in and eat them.

Spinach is one of my favorite spring crops but must be eaten before it gets hot or it will bolt. So today I am planting more spinach seeds. Takes about 2 weeks from planting seeds to transplanting the seedlings into pony packs where they grow for another 2 weeks-so 4 weeks from planting seeds to planting outside (with protection). Let’s hope it won’t be a bad year for mice again like two years ago!

3 comments on “Trouble in the cold frame

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Oh cuss! It is more frustrating to see this in your garden, since your garden performs so exemplarily. (It is easier to tolerate in my garden because I do not put so much work into it.) Well, at least the vermin are eating well.


  2. Gene solyntjes says:

    Jannine, I am sorry for your loss. A single latch should secure the top safely. Are your beds framed?


    • Yes this is a cold frame so it has a lid covering a raised bed. There was a little gap on one side and I believe that is where the mouse came in-not from underneath as it has hardware cloth on the bottom to keep rodents out. Last year I put some window gasket on around the whole cold frame between the box and the lid that was sticky on one side. Now the stickiness is gone so I’m going to screw it down to the box so it doesn’t move. I do have 2 latches, one on each side and didn’t latch it before (mistake) but I need to reattach the gasket before I can latch them again. Thanks for your words.


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