Stop hun­gry mice tak­ing the mickey

Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL -

How can I prop­erly pro­tect my new sow­ings from mice? Sally P, via email

Mice can be a prob­lem if you’re sow­ing veg seeds like beans and peas since they bur­row into the ground to eat them be­fore they sprout. The best way to avoid this is to prop­a­gate seeds in­doors be­fore plant­ing out when shoots are a few inches tall. You can re­use old plas­tic bot­tles, with the bases cut off and caps removed, as cov­ers.

Hold on to your Christ­mas party hats. It’s time for a whis­tle-stop tour of fes­tive firs and splen­did spruces so you know pre­cisely where to be hang­ing your stars this hol­i­day sea­son.

A pop­u­lar dec­o­ra­tion since Prince Al­bert popped one up in Wind­sor Cas­tle in the 1840s, we now buy more than eight mil­lion Christ­mas trees a year in the UK.

I’m not knock­ing ar­ti­fi­cial trees – they are low-main­te­nance, long-last­ing and, when well dec­o­rated, it is dif­fi­cult to spot the dif­fer­ence. But I al­ways go for a real one.

Noth­ing gets you more in the fes­tive mood, and they fill the room with the smell of pure Christ­mas.

When choos­ing your tree, it is best to buy one that is not yet net­ted so you can as­sess it for shape and sym­me­try. You want one that looks great from all an­gles and has plenty of branches for your dec­o­ra­tions.

It’s also good to take your time sift­ing through in­di­vid­ual spec­i­mens to find one that is not overly dry be­fore you buy so you are not fight­ing a los­ing bat­tle in your liv­ing room.

The se­cret is to saw an inch off the

As with cut flow­ers, trim­ming the trunk helps it hy­drate

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