fresh garden head of broccoli that is ready to harvest

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  1. Great article. There is no end to the “critters” large and small that we have to deal with in the garden!

    1. Susan…..I agree, garden pests are so annoying! I love easy-to-do preventative measures that be taken before problems present themselves. I learned the hard way, after having almost all my little broccoli seedlings toppled overnight by these nasty cut worms! An ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure in this case……Thanks for writing!

    2. What about carrots? The seedlings come up just fine, but the next day they are gone! Also, you can make collars out of toilet paper tubes!

      1. I have not had this issue but it could be slugs or carrot weevils that are eating your seedling carrot tops…if you have slugs in your garden, the wood ashes should help. Or, try diatomaceous earth or crushed eggshells. It may also be carrot weevils which are small beetles that love carrot tops. Google carrot weevils as there are safe ways to control for these annoying little pests.

  2. A cutworm is actually a caterpillar. I was always told to remove the bottom of a disposable beverage cup and set that around the base of the seedlings. I generally use a 12 oz paper cup, but, and forgive me for saying the P word, a larger plastic cup should work and is reusable. Be sure to run a slit up the cup for removal after you feel it is no longer needed. A 2nd advantage of the larger plastic cup is slows down slugs. I have more slugs than cutworms.

    1. That is a good idea with the cup. I like the idea the that cups can slow down slug activity as well. I have also used rolled paper tubes that are placed around the seedling stems to stop these cutworm caterpillars. I just find the ashes to be pretty quick and simple although multiple applications on barrier method are certainly advantageous! Thanks for writing and Happy Gardening!

    2. Curious as to what stops the cutworm from crawling up and over the cup? I read about erecting a toothpick fence and went out at night with a flashlight to see if it had any effect. Watched the cutworm easily climb the ‘fence’.

      1. Hi, I used to make the paper cylinders and taped them around each seedling but it was time consuming. I am so glad that I switched to the wood ashes as it is a snap to sprinkle a collar of ashes around each seedlings as they are planted. The gritty texture of the ashes discourages all types of crawling cutworms. I have never tried the toothpick barricade…sounds fun but pretty labor intensive. Thanks for writing!

  3. Hello, I have started seedlings of brassicae (cabbages, broccoli, kale etc…) about 2 weeks ago. The seedlings are outside, in some open shelves, uncovered, under a tree (that’s the only spot I found that would get gentle light exposure but not too much – I live in Spain and young plants burn if left unprotected) .
    My little babies are growing well, they are about 5-6cm high.  However yesterday I noticed several of my plants had a cut at the base,  or even  0.5cm in the soil. The plants are not cut off completely.
    The soil I use is a commercial mix for seedlings, so I wouldn’t expect any cutworm, unless they would have moved there the past  2 weeks. I have noticed some big ants around but haven’t witnessed them chewing on my plants.
    Any idea what it could be ? Any possible treatment ? ashes, diatomeas earth…?
    Thanks a lot !

    1. Aw….I am so sorry to hear that you have lost some of your seedlings. I am not sure on the ants, but it definitely sounds like it could be cutworms. They are so difficult to spot as they come out at night. I would try either the diatomaceous earth or ashes. Plus, as they get a little bigger also consider making paper tubes to slip around the seeding stems. These small pieces of paper, rolled in tubes, can be gently unrolled around each stem and taped to secure. The paper tubes are pushed slightly into the dirt to completely protect each seedling stem. (Index cards work great to make the paper tubes.) It is a bit labor intensive but will help save your seedlings. Hope this helps!

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