Sunday, May 3, 2009


They're killing me. They've chomped over 25 pepper plants & 10 tomato plants this year. It started out with just a couple pepper plants getting chomped in half and I thought........"I've had some plants chomped in two big deal" Well..... it was a big deal. I planted some replacements plus about 10 more and the next day..........all chomped down. I then used some paper cups cut in half to wrap around the stems and they were too low......I lost another 8. So I planted some more a couple of days ago with longer wraps.........and they seem to be working. Check it out:

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Right above the dirt line they chew & chew & chew until...........

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........they're chopped in half. My first attempt to sleave the stalks.......uummm, didn't exactly work out as planned.

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My new's not pretty but it's been 3 days and no damage yet!


  1. Dennis,
    I found this information, hope it helps honey. Most of the stuff I researched said that the host lives in soil that was, no tilled at leas two weeks before planting. Apparently if you had a previous crop, they live in the soil and eat the previous dying vegetation? Does that sound like a possible condition you may have? Where I plant my tomatoes, photos to follow soon on my blog, there hasn't been any vegetation remaining. I clear it all and throw it away. Anyway, blah, blah, blah, here's the question and answer I found on-line that may assist.

    How big should a tomato plant be when it is safe from cutworms? We put cans around our seedlings and were wondering when it would be safe to remove them?

    Dear Frances,
    I am not sure when it is safe to remove the cans, but I can recommend diatomaceous earth around the tomatoes for their protection. It doesn't hurt the plant, but worms do not do well in the environment it creates.
    I wish you well with your tomatoes.
    Kind Regards,

    Here's the other thing I found about the "residue". Hope that helps!


    Destroy plant residues before planting, especially when tomatoes follow a good host crop (e.g., alfalfa or beans and cover crops that include legumes) for the cutworms. Host plant material may also be controlled with herbicides, but if pupae are overwintering, just getting rid of host plants may not help much. Monitor fruit in combination with the beet army worms damage sample or take a separate sample of the fruit touching the ground to detect damage are important strategies in managing these pests.

    Those little dixie cups are cute! Mabe a snow cone cup would work. Cut it down one side and snip the bottom large enough for your stalk, push it in the ground and run a piece of tape up the side? Don't know where to buy those paper cones! LOL VN8

  2. Well that certainly puts a damper on your gardening. Let us know if the cups work, or if you find another solution. BTW, thanks for suggesting companion planting. We put in some marigolds thank to your reminder.

  3. Way back when I had a veggie garden, I used toilet paper rolls, whiched seemed to work well.

  4. I sure hope this does the trick........don't give up!

  5. VN8- I had heard that if you have had weeds growing in the bed before you plant your crop it increases the likelihood of cutworms. And yes, I had weeds in those beds (they're shaded during the winter). Another lesson learned!

    Sububran- Yeah, I was bumbed out at first, but now it's turned into a challange. Sometimes when something like this happens I start thinking about using pesticides......and I was close this time. But I'm not giving in yet.

    WG- "witch-ed"? lol.

    Darla- Hey thanks!

  6. Hi Dennis, sorry to hear about your troubles. That paper cup idea looks very clever. (if you can, do try to stay away from those pesticides). Nobody ever said growing vegetables is easy (especially with vegetably-challenged people like me - but I'm sure you'll do fine).

  7. What a bummer about those cut worms. I have read that a few bloggers have been having problems with them this year. I mailed of some seed to your business address on the 29th I believe, should be showing up soon.

    ps. I will just use the poly tunnel during the early spring, late fall & winter.

  8. I am dealing with my fair share of cutworms. The tips in this post should allow me to defeat them mightily.

    Great blog BTW, I snagged your RSS.

  9. I have had plants cut down by cutworms before, too. It is SO frustrating. But now you step up to the challenge! Good for you! I hope the little buggers leave your plants alone now!

  10. Update.....I think it's day 5 and no plants have been cut down yet. So either birds are eating the cutworms or my efforts are paying off. Maybe both!

  11. Peppers can be re-rooted just like tomatoes.

    A little rooting hormone, some damp sharp sand, a humidity dome, and bottom heat should have new roots coming along in no time, if you wanted to salvage your goodies.

  12. oh my goodness... from your photos... I just realized that I've been hit by cutworms too!

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  16. Spray a light insecticidal soap on the plant, especially the bottoms of the leaves. Ladybugs are also a good predator of the white fly, so put a few of them in there for good measure.

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