The mouse droppings nearby readily explain the mystery of their disappearance. The leaves and even the seeds of peppers are among their favorite early spring treats. Typically, mice and other small varmints seek a warm place to winter over, and the potting shed attached to many greenhouses provides the sheltered labyrinth they seek, amidst the trays and boxes of partially-used supplies.
This tragedy is best avoided by utilizing traps, baits, or an active cat with access to these storage areas the fall before. An even better solution is to store these potting materials in a building separated from the greenhouse, or to delay their delivery until the time of use to discourage overwinter nesting.
The devastation is felt so keenly because, by the time the seedlings are eaten and new seed acquired, the unfortunate grower has lost a full month of growing time.
- Benjamin Wilcox