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LazyGirl
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Who's eating my seedlings???

I have a raised bed covered with plastic sheeting to keep my veggie and native seedlings from frost. SOMEONE has very rudely eaten the broccoli, sage, lupine, and tomato seedling leaves!!! :evil:

A quick google search came up with cutworms:
https://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/M1225.html

They suggest placing a "collar" around the seedlings of foil or cardboard. Does anyone have any easy house-hold suggestions for an army of these collars? I was thinking of cutting out the bottoms of plastic party cups and using those. I will push them down ~2" into the dirt.

Now time to start a new batch of seedlings to replace the ones eaten... :x

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hendi_alex
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It would be kind of unusual at least in my experience, to see a cut worm eat leaves. They usually girdle the plant. I think that the worm curls around the stem and eats through it, leaving the top portion to fall over and wither. I don't know whether the method works or not, but have never lost a plant when I simply stuck a stick in the ground right against the stem. The idea is that the stick prevents the worm from curling around and eating the plant. The method has either worked for me, or I've simply been lucky. This was always done after losing a plant or two, and then with the sticks no more plants were lost.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

cynthia_h
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Snails and slugs, esp. this time of year, are voracious destroyers of young plants in the Bay Area. Go out maybe 2 hours after darkness with a flashlight and trowel/big stick and kill the little plant-eating stomach-feet (what "gastropod" actually means!).

Elsewhere on THG, I and others, have discussed snail hunting. I'll go and get the url.

Prepare for your revenge against the little monsters...:twisted:

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

cynthia_h
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Details of snail hunting and why they came to be such garden pests in northern California available at:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=58267

I'll understand if you can't get 100% into this idea right away. It took me a couple of seasons of 100% losses of seedlings to develop my sense of justice / predator predation / ecological recycling.

But now it's almost like a duty to my plants: I am their only protector.

Cynthia

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LazyGirl
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Cynthia and Hendi,

Thanks so much for the suggestions. I am going to do both stick collecting and snail hunting tonight... right after I read up on the snail hunting links. :twisted:

I do have lots of snails and slugs in the compost pile which is ~15ft from the raised bed with the seedlings. Until now I never killed any and would just transport them to the compost bin as I thought that's what organic gardening was all about. Maybe I'll have another opinion after reading up on snails. :?:

cynthia_h
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Happy (and successful) hunting!

I'll be going out tonight, too, since it rained today. I suspect the gastropods will be out in force. Tonight, anyway. :twisted:

Tomorrow? Perhaps not. (wicked laugh)

Cynthia

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LazyGirl
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The only thing that makes me second guess the snail/slug theory is that I don't see the slime trail in the dirt. Do snails/slugs always leave a trail or are mine being extra sneaky??? :?

Should I also be removing all the slugs?

cynthia_h
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First, the trail isn't always visible in all light conditions, and second, they ARE sneaky. They'll take up residence UNDER leaves or ON the stems of more established plants. :x Be sure to shine the flashlight under the leaves as well as on top of the leaves.

And, yes, kill the slugs, too. They're just like snails, but without the shell. They're mobile stomachs. (But I gotta say I prefer using the trowel. I just can't stand to stomp a slug. Snail, yes; slug, no--gotta use the trowel or stick.)

Cynthia

wingdesigner
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If you shine the light up from the bottom of the plant, the lil' buggers will be silhouetted against the leaves (depending on the strength of the light). Makes 'em much easier to spot, and faster. Happy hunting. I have sparrows that just LOVE slugs. After about a month of slinging slugs & grubs onto the driveway, they just line up on the eaves and tree branches (word gets around) for an easy meal. I don't know if shrikes and other types of that bird are native to your area, but if so, you could try (if you can handle it), spiking a few big ones on some long thorns, if you have anything with long thorns. But that's not for the faint of heart nor squeamish of stomach. :lol: If you can't bait a fishing hook with live bait, you probably won't spike your slugs.
Happy Gardening,
Wing

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LazyGirl
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I love the idea of providing a snail and slug buffet for the birds! This sounds so wrong but I was picturing a bird bath lined with copper tape to "display" the juicy mollusks in. :twisted: :oops:

I ended up being real lazy last night so I didn't go "hunting", but I just had my coffee so I'm going out to buzz around and collect. As a pre-emptive strike should I remove them from the compost pile as well?

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LazyGirl
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Sure enough, there were tons of slugs hiding around the base of the bed. Maybe they were climbing the side every night to feast??? Anyway, all the ones I found are now properly disposed of. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

If I'm not feeling as lazy tonight I will go out with a flashlight and see if any are still around. Since all the slugs I found were around the base of the bed, I figured I would help deter them by sprinkling fireplace ashes around the base. I don't know if they will dislike the alkaline ash but figured it was worth a try. :wink:

wingdesigner
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Anything that scratches those squidgy bodies will help. Diatomaceous earth (careful with that, handle like raw fiberglass!), regular coffee grounds, gravel, ground glass (kidding, sort of, it's rough on the knees. Other than that I'd try it... :roll: ). I suppose if you had nothing else to do you could rummage through the compost pile and pick 'em out--my OCD isn't that bad! :lol:
Happy Gardening,
Wing

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LazyGirl
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I cover the compost pile with a tarp and there are always a few hanging out on the inside of the tarp. I also pulled a few from the surface of the heap, including a slug the size of my thumb. :shock:

For the raised bed update - I just went out there and I didn't see any slugs or snails. I'll keep checking to see if any new ones show up. Hopefully they don't like ash and will stop going up there.

I did notice a few roli-pollies in the bed though. Do they eat seedlings? If so, then I can dispose of them as well. :wink:

cynthia_h
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The roly-polies (sp?) are OK. According to what I've read, they PREFER dead vegetation, like what we put into the compost heap.

Good going on the slugs! I don't have access to enough ash to try it, but it may be making a difference for you! :D

Hope your next round of seedlings meets with a better fate, like surviving to maturity.

Cynthia

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hendi_alex
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The only thing that I've seen that the pill bugs may be munching is strawberries, especially later in the summer on ever bearing varieties. But no significant damage. I've always liked the critters so let them stay where they are.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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LazyGirl
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Thanks for the advise. I feel bad enough getting rid of the slugs/snails! :D

milifestyle
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I've only skimmed the replies, but if the entire plants have been eaten or attacked, its possible it could be a "bigger" problem.

When we first moved into our new house which had a fantastic garden already, we quickly planted some parsely, lettuce and a few other vegies.

When we checked the garden the following day the plants were half eaten. Now that must have been one hungry army of caterpillars or the possum in the tree above where we planted them wanted a mixed salad for tea :)

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rainbowgardener
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slugs

another way of collecting the slugs is just put a board down on the ground next to your garden. In the morning, it should have collected a bunch under it, that you can just get rid of (how ever you fancy :? ). For the snails there's always the beer trap...



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