20 OCTOBER 1939, Page 17

In the Garden

It is alleged that rats and mice cost the nation 70 million pounds a year. How this particular figure is arrived at I have no idea, but at a time when all waste is to be avoided it is the duty of all gardeners to take some extra trouble to reduce the sum of such vermin. They eat the beetroots, burrow even to the Jerusalem artichokes and carefully select the Cox's orange pippins in the apple store. The mice and field voles seem to have a special fondness for garden frames. The objection to setting small spring mouse-traps in the open is that they are apt to kill robins. Frosts may be quite as destructive as rats. Though some vegetables such as winter spinach, winter cabbage and artichokes are singularly resistant, other vegetables are in the class of gladioli and dahlias, which must be dug up and housed before the frosts are heavy. It is often worth while giving good protection to that most useful of later vegetables, the Brussels sprout. Even a net may help to save the plants from early frosts, which often befall, as some records indicate, round about October 17th.