Packets of peas and beans generally come with instructions to sow them in the ground where they are to grow. It sounds good enough, but it puzzles me because the instructions don’t take into account a certain small mammal, the mouse - Apodemus sylvaticus.
Field mouse, wood mouse, call them what you will, but they love peas and beans and can sniff them out as fast as you sow them. They love sweet corn, too, and will neatly lift every carefully sown kernel, leaving barely a trace of their foraging. For this reason, I prefer to sow into trays and then keep them on metal racks that mice can’t climb up, until they have put out at least one set of leaves and can be safely put outside. I could, of course, trap and kill them, and many gardeners do, but I choose not to.
Mice are mostly nocturnal, so you don’t often see them, but they leave signs of their presence. If you have seed or berry producing trees nearby, like cherry or holly, it’s likely that a mouse will gather the seed and store it somewhere, to be eaten later; the corner of a dry garage is a favourite spot. The inside of a wood pile is a good storage area too – in ours we find many cherry stones. Once, I even found a disused bird’s nest piled high with holly berries