Garden Destroyed: Time To Build A Better Mouse Trap

I planted my first garden this year sort of late in the season (around late July) – but like Justin Rhodes always says, “Just Plant.

Much to my surprise, most of my little garden grew: the okra grew fast, the corn made 18 ears, the squash grew a few dinners worth, and the cantaloupes flourished.

However, the straw-bale potatoes never grew at all and my Lowe’s tomato plants made one batch of green tomatoes and then staled the rest of the summer. I think these two issues were heat related but what do I know.

The okra may have been magic beans because it grew 10 feet tall (and I don’t think that’s normal) but I did get a few dinners off of it before it grew completely out of reach.

The squirrels ate every ear of my corn and then pulled the stalks down for good measure and danced on the remains (I’m just guess about that dance part).

Everything else that was left, was eaten by rats – or so I’m guessing by the decimation and Tom&Jerry like holes in my cantaloupes.

The Garden

In all fairness, my garden was really no trouble to grow. The whole area is roughly 20X30 and only took a few hours to plant. I used the no-till method and so the weed pressure was minimal. All and all, I think it was a success – even if it only fed the local wildlife. Next year I’ll plant early and see what happens.

I still have two Cantaloupes hanging on the vine, one I have rapped with a rubber snake and the other is completely defenseless. However, I have set a trap for the rats and can only hope I get at least one melon for my efforts.

Build A Better Mouse Trap

The trouble with most rat traps is that they are dangerous to things other than rats. Poison is just not an option. A simple spring loaded trap might work but that’s sort of a one shot one rat approach.

Instead I’m going with a bucket trap.

Items needed

  • 5 gallon bucket
  • wire coat hanger
  • scrap piece of thin tubing (I used a broken grabber I had laying around)
  • Peanut Butter
  • a little dish soap


  • Cut the tubing slightly shorter than the diameter of the bucket.
  • Cut the wire hanger 2″ longer than the diameter of the bucket.
  • Poke two holes in the rim across from each other.
  • Run the wire through the tube and through the holes – then bend over on each end.
  • Rub peanut butter on the middle of the pipe.
  • Fill the bucket half way up with water and a little dish soap.
  • Vala! Rat Trap.

It rained all last night, so since the peanut butter was untouched this morning , I’m guessing that the rain kept the rats in their little burrow (which I think is actually my failed straw-bale potato experiment). I’ll let you know next week how it all works out.


I also spent a few hours yesterday building three of the storage bins I designed in SketchUp last week. It took a few hours because my shop is still upside-down while I renovate it and so I spent 20 minutes just trying to find a drill bit. The upside is that once the bins are complete, I can get some of the clutter under control. If all goes well my 3 day shop renovation that was started on 9/9/19, will be done by mid-November… of 2020!

Note Worthy News

It’s confirmed that my humor article, The Christmas Goose will be published in the Dec/Jan 2019/2020 issue of Farm & Ranch Living. The magazine has a circulation of 400,000, so I couldn’t be more excited. Be sure to pickup your copy on newsstands next month.

On a similar note, I am now listed as #19 on the Top 60 Beekeeping Blogs and Websites in 2019. I have no idea how prestigious that is but it does mean people are starting to notice this bungling beekeeper’s beekeeping blog.

If you’re new, scroll down and hit one of the follow buttons at the bottom of this page.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Yes, wildlife can be a problem – for us it’s been the wallabies, wombats and possums, all very cute marsupials but diabolical to a garden… between them and the drought here it’s not good! Thank you for sharing and hope you save a thing or two for your own table!!
    Donna 🧚🏻‍♀️❤️🐝

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bryan Layton says:

      Wallabies and wombats sound so exotic. Certainly sounds better than rats and squirrels.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehehe they’re pretty cute but just as naughty!! Have a great week, Bryan!! 🧚🏻‍♀️❤️🐝

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ourlifestead says:

    Ok, this is freaking brilliant… so I’m stealing the idea. All there is to it.
    The mice in, and around, my barn are in for a bubble bath dang’nabit.
    Thank you, Mr.Layton.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Layton says:

      Let me know how it works out for you. I heard it can take a few days for them to find it. Also make sure you give them a ramp to get up in the bucket.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the bubble bath rat trap! Ha ha the BBBB is moving up on the ranks – keep up the good work mate!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Layton says:

      Bubble bath… that’s funny 😄


  4. rothpoetry says:

    Could be you have raccoons or opossums!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Layton says:

      It could be but when it’s one of them, they usually start eating my chicken eggs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rothpoetry says:

        They get into my bird feeders from time to time!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Rivergirl says:

    Please try and get some video of the rats celebratory dance around your corn stalks. That’s tv worth watching…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Penny says:

    Looking forward to more info and adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

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