The broad beans were ready. They have germinated and hardened-off. Sometimes gardening is not exactly straightforward. The presence of pesky mean-o’s requires thinking up different approaches to be successful. What we face here is the ruthless digging-up of planted seeds and plants that have been raised at home and planted out after a period of hardening-off. What in the world can be done? Well, for several years now we have only been germinating bean seeds at home, planting out only after the plantlets have developed to a certain stage. This usually works well, but still the little beasts sometimes dig up the plantlets, biting through the stems, leaving the leafy stems wilted on the soil surface. Why were the voles (or rats) doing this? They weren’t eating anything, just biting the plant off and then leaving it lie. It is so demoralising seeing the traject the animals walked, wittness the withering horizontal plants discarded by the senseless vermin. If you think about it though, it isn’t the way that rodents operate— they do not bite, they eat. However, they ate nothing…or did they? So my theory is that what these beasties were eating could have been the bean seed halves. A seed is planted, with water and a bit of warmth, the seed germinates. The roots come out of the inside if the seed, growing downward, and the bean’s stem comes out from between the seed halves, growing upward. A light went off. Regardless of how much “energy” the plantlet uses from the seed halves, there is still some nutrition left in the cotyledons. I believe that is this that the rodents can smell, or instinctively go for, destroying the plant in the process. What to do then? I remove the cotyledons before planting. Here are all of them in a Chinese food container: We peeled-back the mulch, raked the ground and planted the first row. Then, the whole plot: Of course taking this measure was not enough because there are also winged veggie predators about…great and small. Break - out the Enviromesh. This ought to deter most uninvited guests. An overview of this project: Most of the work done, I had time for two more tasks— finishing off the pruning of the butterfly bushes and the refurbishing of the second compost bin. We had bought some black pond liner, removed the rotting tarp and replaced the outer wall. I apologise for the shabbiness of the plots so far, but their time is coming.