Bex717
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona. USA

Distraught gardener!! What is Eating my Vegetables?

Something has been just destroying my plants. A few weeks ago my sweet potato plants were eaten… first all the leaves, the the stems. Now I planted a small tomoato plant on Saturday and found it gone this morning.

I'm in Phoenix, AZ and we have an enclosure around the entire garden, chicken wire is along the bottom of the garden bed so I don't think anything is coming up from beneath. Could a bug be responsible for all this damage?

Picture attached are size of the plant before and after. Thank you for any advice!

Becky
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After, close up
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After :(
After :(
Before
Before

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Distraught gardener!!

If you can rule out ground hogs, then cut worm is most likely. Put collars around your newly planted stuff. Once it is well established and toughened up it won't be so vulnerable.

Cutworm collars:
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toilet paper rolls

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dixie cups

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nails
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applestar
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Re: Distraught gardener!!

When I made the mistake of treating my tomato seedlings with home made mite-killer made with Sunflower oil, MICE ate up my plants and left them looking like yours -- they recovered though.

Subject: Tomatoes (and peppers) plagued by mites... but recovering
applestar wrote:O-KAY! DRUMROLL PLEASE!! ::)


Tah-Dah!

Image

"What are we looking at?" You say?

On the left side are seedlings that were treated with 'asmx91's mighty mite mix' ;)

Top left -- These are the first three seedlings, treated and put under the Garage V8 lights. I believe it was the 3rd morning after treatment when I discovered that the seedlings were MISSING all their leaves. Gone... completely. I wasn't sure what to think about that -- a mouse? But these are TOMATO LEAVES??? I treated them again by spraying the sticks top of the seedlings (...and hoped the mouse had managed to get himself a really bad tummy ache from his greediness). Next morning, I found the sad remains of viciously chomped up sticks as you see here. DEFINITELY MOUSE. I sprayed them again (though I realized now that it must be the sunflower oil in the mix that had tempted the mouse) then covered each with cut off plastic bottles. ...and set our two kitties to patrol the garage every day. 2nd day, one of them caught a mouse. Image that was 3 days ago. You can see that one of them was too severely damaged by the mouse and died, but the other two are recovering and growing new leaf buds. Image

Bottom left -- These three seedlings in 9oz cups are the ones I started to treat in the house after discovering the sticks. They are showing some stress from the oil treatment but look recovered from the initial mite infestation. Image

Top right and middle right -- These are the seedlings I had hoped would be rescued by Indoor Garden Patrol predatory mites (although only with existing population and not by releasing a large number directly on the plants). Among the14 seedlings left to chance predatory mite rescue, 3 are still looking healthy and unaffected by mites, and 3 are struggling/hanging on/recovering. The rest are in poor condition from massive infestation or already dead. :(

Bottom right -- Here in the front are some seedlings I have started to treat since two days ago. These are more severely infested and damaged than the ones I started to treat at early signs of infestation. Image
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Bex717
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Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2016 12:51 am
Location: Phoenix, Arizona. USA

Re: Distraught gardener!!

Thank you both! I was wondering if it could be cutworms… I will try that to save my remaining new stuff. I was shocked by how much was gone so quickly. :shock:

Bex717
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Re: Distraught gardener!!

Glad you got rid of your mouse problem too applestar ;)

Bex717
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Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2016 12:51 am
Location: Phoenix, Arizona. USA

Re: Distraught gardener!!

@applestar… I just was out putting Dixie cups around my plants and guess what I saw peeking out of a hole in our wall?! A MOUSE!! I have never ever seen mice around here. Thanks again for your advice… he is definitely small enough to get through the chicken wire. Now to figure out how to get rid of him!

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applestar
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Re: Distraught gardener!!

Oh no! Well, at least you have discovered the culprit and you'll know how to deal with it. Good luck -- now that worst of the summer heat is over, this is probably your best time to grow stuff. :-()
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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jal_ut
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Re: Distraught gardener!! What is Eating my Vegetables?

Get some Diatomaceous Earth crystals and sprinkle that around and on your plants. Also get some mouse traps and trap the darned critters. There are also several rodenticide formulas available on the market for killing rats/mice.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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