This morning I woke up and went straight to my garden like I do every other day!. But this day was different, there was a disaster waiting to be seen. I have a row of  “Pink of Berne” a pink beefsteak tomato given to me by my friend Anil Hande and few california wonder capsicum plants next to it.

When I went to water I saw some potting soil on the sides of the pot. When I went closer, i realized something terrible had happened. Almost all the soil has been thrown out in an attempt to make a burrow or something. Most of the roots have been cut and the healthy about to set fruit plant is clinging to the stake i made and no support from the soil. Needless to say it was drooping.

Another couple of beefsteak plants have been cruelly cut at their crown. Shattered by looking at all this, I went straight to my favorite Bellpepper plant and was happy to see all the peppers in good shape.

I didn’t know who did all this but I was curious to  find out. Few things that came to my mind was, it could be a Rat, squirrel or Cat, but cat wont make such neat burrows. There is a Labrador dog in my apartment but he is a cool fellow and doesn’t come in my way. But how can a rat come? I am in 4th floor. I started looking for any clue like footprint, droppings etc. But it was in vain.

With a sad face I started getting ready to office and when I started climbing down the stairs I observed some prints in the next floor. Thanks to yesterdays rain, the Rat’s paws were wet and had made clear marks. The marks were climbing down.  I returned from my office. I thought I will tie some polythene bags in the plant which will keep moving in the wind and might scare the rat.

I went up and tied the same.It was very dark and no rats were seen. But then I noticed yet another damage. Take a look at this.

MyGarden 871

I had read about using garlic to ward off rats/mice. I minced some garlic and went upstairs to put some on every pot. That is when I noticed that little bugger standing right on the capsicum plant again. I kept shining my torch and he was fearlessly looking at me. Then the chase started. I made sure I scare the hell out of him and chased him all the way to ground floor and out of my apartment. He looked cute and all. But cant afford to lose my precious plants/produce this way. Phew

Now that he is visiting my garden, I decided to harvest all the peppers and here they are..plucked a little too early.

MyGarden 874


MyGarden 875

I will try some organic /safe ways to get rid of rats first .

Ah.. Its time to get some sleep…



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22 Responses

  1. Hi gg,
    welcome to the world of destructive rodents….i’ve had many bad experiences with rats as well as bandicoots …if you think that the rat looked fearless you should see the attitude of bandicoots…. as I’m an avid reader of jim corbett and kenneth anderson I have often thought of sitting up with a gun to shoot the bandicoots
    anyway better luck next time, hopefully the rats wont return.

    • Hi arundati,

      I am all ears for your advices on how to tackle them. I was initially frustrated but then started taking it easy. Next time that guy shows up i am gonna take a snap of him and post it here.

      • Hi GG:

        I feel very sad on reading the rat menace that has struck your garden that you attend to with so much love and care…

        A couple of tips I have read… if you know the route the rats take,they will always follow the same route along perimiter walls etc, put some lime across the track they take they then lick the lime from there feet and it poisons them.

        Mice and rats lack the ability to burp. You can use this to your advantage. Simply pour Pepsi or Coke into a shallow dish, and place the dish near where the mice or rats are entering your home. The rodents will drink the sweet soft drink and later, when they can‘t burp, they will die.

        The most eco-friendly way would be to have a cat at home. I had cats at home in my childhood and no rat ever dared to enter into the house. Of course, we have to decide whether to have a cat and manage other associated problems (the cat used to drink the milk kept in the kitchen!)

        Meena K

  2. I too have had rat problem lately, RATKILL is useless they ate it like junk food & came back for more 😛
    Good old Rat trap with a piece of burnt coconut bait works great.
    murdered 3 rats past 3 days….. ( totally evil laugh )

    kill them without looking at them, the eyes are too cute.

    My German shepherd Chinnu has killed 5 rats till date.

    • Hey Anil,

      I was thinking of using ratkill. Good you told me, otherwise that loner rat will bring all his cousins to my garden for a feast. I will try the trap sometime. I am wondering where are all the cats?. Hopefully this one doesn’t show up again.


  3. Hi Geekgardener

    Im a newcomer trying to get information on how to start the organic
    terrace gardening.

    Thanks for all the info in your site….

    To start off, I donot know where to get organic seeds for growing the
    organic veggies.

    If you have any information on where the organic seeds are sold, please let me know.

    Thanks very much

    • Hi Chitra,

      For organic seeds, you may want to check Dept of Horticulture BioCenter Hulimavu. I would say dont wast time on searching for organic seeds. Just get a packet of seeds from Lalbagh and you are good to go. “Organic” is more about the way you grow it. Good luck

  4. hi gg,
    since this seems to be a one-off rat , I guess you can use rat kill but see that it doesnt get into your house and die in some inaccessible place. better still would be the rat trap … these days you get a sticky pad and when the rat steps on it it will get stuck to the pad…. then you can drown it or get someone else to do it if you are squeamish about it….
    I am generally peace loving but when i see my plants ruined i get quite militant.
    Imagine the plight of the farmers whose crops are ruined by elephants, pigd deer etc…

  5. Well GG,
    Now I know from where my cat gets it’s rat every night. I am little peaceful in this case as my cat is hyper-active in catching rats and make a feast out of it.
    But the amount of damage it has done to your plants, I need to be more care full. I will try all possible ways to block these “little enemies” of crop away.

  6. GG
    I have been following your blog for a month. GREAT Work. I live in Hyderabad. Am in to growing veges in pots. Stumbled on ur site while searching for capsicum plant in pots 🙂 How much do they cost? I wanted to plant about capsicum seeds and went to the shop. he said it comes in hybrid veriety only and one pack costs nothing less than 300/- having about 100 seeds. Ppls suggest

    • Hello Venugopal,

      Good to hear about your interest to grow your own veggies. Regarding capsicum, hybrids might cost that much but there are many open pollinated varieties available for a very cheap price. You might get them for less than 30 bucks a packet of more than 100 seeds.


    • Hi Venugopal,

      Recently i bought a packet of capsicum seeds, ‘California Wonder’ variety of Naamdhari Seeds Brand from the Nilgiris store on brigade road in Bangalore for just Rs 30/-. The packet has far more seeds than a small gardener like me could ever use (around 50-70). Wish you were in Bangalore and i could pass it on to you. But i guess, you might get it for same price in Hyderabad too. Try your luck!



    • Hi Asha,

      I tried garlic pieces as i mentioned and didn’t see him come near the plants.Atleast I dont see any damage. although I see lots of rat poo-poo near my plants. I will try onion too.


  7. we have had monkeys raid our garden and get away with all the ripe tomatoes and some okra. They ate onion leaves as well. But all plants were left in tact. It was anyway better than them coming into the house and messing the place.

  8. Greetings from Malaysia. Sorry to hear about the damage, but glad, you still manage to harvest some capsicum. They look good and healthy.I have never had any encounter with the rat or other animals (hope it stays that way) so can’t offer any advice. But I love your blog and the information. I will frequent your blog from now on.
    Happy New Year..

  9. Sorry about that. I also face the same problem in my apartment. I have been hiding my plants indoor (from balcony). This after I tried give them RatKill for 10 consecutive days. The other day I had gone to LalBagh and picked up this rat poison. This seems to be working. Though its too early to come to a conclusion. I had kept a small marigold plant in the balcony which is still intact. Normally they polish it off within one night….

    • Hi DB,

      Ever since that disaster, I haven’t seen any rat messing with my plants. May be there isn’t anything that they like. I moved most of the plants to my greenhouse. I dont use ratkill since there is a dog in my apartment and I dont want to take chances there. Good that it is working for you.


  10. Hi,saw your website while searching for container gardening,must say you have done a very exhaustive research.i found your blogs v informative n helpful.I am in Jalandhar,Punjab and min temp here is appx2-3 degree centigrade and maxis 8-10 degrees right now n its all foggy n cold.i bought some hybrid petunias from a local nursery n now some of them are drooping n losing leaves…maybe wilting/dying…pl give me some tips to revive them

    • Hi Arpana,

      Sorry for the delayed response. Petunias bloom well in full sun. More shade translates to less number of blooms. May be it is the cold temperature. Make sure you keep it in a place which gets good amount of sunlight. Also water them with a water soluble fertilizer.


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