One of the first attempts to control the depredations of rodents must have been the invention of earthenware storage jars and brick granaries about four thousand years ago. We have been at it ever since and the rats and mice have used us to transport them to every continent and most islands, and probably exist in larger numbers now than ever before. They adapt to all sorts of extreme conditions, eat almost anything, and have a really stable genetic makeup. They are small enough to subsist on quite small amounts, and reproduce at a young enough age, in large enough litters, to tAake advantage of good times. In the long term they have us beat all ways. In the short term there is a rat free garden and a mouse free balcony I know of.
I spent much of today making up compost mixes for planting seeds and potting up strawberry runners. I keep a number of plastic bags with various ingredients; rotted lawn edgings, leaf mould, sieved compost from the compost heap, commercial compost, sharp sand, wood ash, anything I can get really. Sometimes I add things like bonemeal as fertiliser, but planting legume seeds as I was today, late broad beans and sweet peas, is done in fairly low nutrient soil. They carry enough food within themselves to get established, and then they will be planted out. The high end nutrient stuff gets used on the things that will stay in pots all their life.
The strawberry runners got a bit of wood ash, I have lots of that, and some sharp sand for drainage because wood ash can get a bit claggy, but they are for passing on so my precious fertilisers didn’t go in. It is amazing how much compost you can go through growing things in large pots, or even planting a couple of hundred seeds in small pots, the demand is constant.
Compost, by the way, is a dual purpose word. It can be rotted down organic material, like you get from the kitchen compost heap, or a mixture of various things, as in ‘seed compost’, ‘potting compost’, or ‘John Innes No1’ compost.