Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:19 am
Location: back to cental az for now, elevation 5141, lat 34.57

My grand experiment

Every year I have the same problem: As soon as newly planted seeds begin to sprout or newly transplanted things like cabbage or broccoli are put in, they get eaten! Have never known what the pest is, but last year discovered that if I put window screens down over the rows and the individual plants, they are safe!

This year thought I would do an experiment at least to determine how big the pest is. So, I have 3 different sizes of screening over the plants this year, quarter inch hardware cloth, half inch hardware cloth, and finally 1 inch chicken wire. Only have about 3 plants out there for now, just to see what happens. No window screen out right now, since I know that works. This is to determine how big the openings in the screen can be and still work.

I thought the pest was grasshoppers but there are none out yet, and already I have lost a plant. The whole space is fenced to a height of 7 feet with half inch hardware cloth already. I'll see what happens. Hope I get this figured out.

pepperhead212
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1709
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:52 pm
Location: Woodbury NJ Zone 6B

Re: My grand experiment

My problem with baby greens is rabbits! And their favorite (of all the brassicas I plant, and there are a lot) is kohlrabi. One year - just before I began covering them religiously - ALL of my kohlrabis were chewed to the ground, while others were "tasted", before going on to the next, it seemed. I start all of my greens 3 weeks early in 72/flat pots, and plant in a long double row, with a strip of T-tape down the middle. Then I cover it, with a light Agribon - the type for keeping things out, not warming, and can be kept on even when it gets a little warm. I weight it down all along the edges, and it works great agqinst rabbits and cabbage butterflies, as well as other pests. However, I have to sprinkle a bunch of Sloggo on the row when planting, as slugs are a major pest early in the spring around here, and the cover keeps it hidden.
Dave

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11684
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: My grand experiment

For me it is snails and slugs. They don't always leave a slime path but you won't see them unless you go out after dusk or get up early in the morning. Just in case put out some beer bait in a pie tin buried in the ground up to the rim. Use a couple of brick and place a wet plank over the pie tin of beer or (brewer's yeast and sugar + warm water) . The snails like to hide under cover and sometimes they will attach to the underside of a wet plank and the cover helps keep the rain out of the pan. Check in the morning to see what you may have caught.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: My grand experiment

You can figure out a lot about who the culprit is by how they get eaten. Do they have big bites taken out of them? Lots of little bites? Lots of little holes all through the leaves? Fewer bigger holes mainly in the leaf centers? Half circle pieces missing from the leaf edges? Or does the whole plant just disappear or the whole plant is found on the ground cut off from the stem?

Each of those scenarios will give you a good idea of what is doing it. The last one is usually cutworms. They come up from the soil and your screens will not stop them, unless you lay screening flat on the ground as well.

So let us know what specifically it is that happens to your plants. Pictures are always good too.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:19 am
Location: back to cental az for now, elevation 5141, lat 34.57

Re: My grand experiment

Well, the results are in, sort of.

The plant I had covered with the quarter inch screen has no damage. The half inch screen has the leaves eaten up high where the leaves touch the screen, and the same with the one inch chicken wire. So, whatever is eating the leaves I think is not small enough to fit in and eat the whole plant, but can get to the upper part of the plant. The leaves lower down in the wire cage are not damaged.

I am now suspecting the main culprit is quail. There are a lot of them around here and they perch on top of the 7 foot fence and fly when I go down there! In the past when I would plant a cover crop of rye they would come down and scratch for the seed, but I didn't think they would eat seedlings. But, having looked online, I see that a lot of people have trouble with birds eating young seedlings. I would like to get a video camera and see what happens when I go away! In the past I might have suspected squirrels because they can easily climb the 7 foot fence, but they are scarce around here now with the 20 year drought we've been having.

Maybe the only solution is to put a wire roof over the top of my whole enclosure, but it's a lot of trouble for one guy, and it would have to be removed and replaced every change of season, or the snow will collapse the whole deal!

Does anyone else have trouble with birds eating seedlings?

Mr green
Green Thumb
Posts: 372
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:08 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: My grand experiment

I have lots of birds in my garden plot. But they are only eating worms, my crops are so far let alone. Pictures of the damage plants would help to detect what has caused the damage.

Found this online: "Although quails are omnivorous animals, they tend to have a primarily vegetarian diet eating seeds, wheat, barley, flowers and fruits but they will also eat insects such as worms and grasshoppers. Around 95% of the quail's diet is thought to consist of plant matter." '
So your suspicion might be right.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:19 am
Location: back to cental az for now, elevation 5141, lat 34.57

Re: My grand experiment

One inch chicken wire damage:
Leaves at top of plant gone.
one inch.JPG
Quarter inch wire: no damage
Plant is pristine. I had just watered so a couple of the leaves are muddy.
quarter inch.JPG
But, I think I may have more than one pest. Lower down on 2 of the plants there are the semi circular bites taken out, some about the diameter of a quarter. Snails?



Return to “Organic Insect and Plant Disease Control”