This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Friday, May 23, 2008

tomato check

evening tomatoes
purple calabash seedling orange blossom seedling
Its hard to have my cute little babied seedlings sooo far away - 1 mile away at my community plot! I planted them yesterday and today I worried that I didn't leave enough of the cut worm collars above the soil level. And I worried about the winds. And the rabbits. But this evening I checked on them and all are just fine. They look happy and snug. And they seem to have grown in my absence. A relief!

Yesterday someone left a comment on my post asking about my cut worm collars. He referenced a Burpee collar that costs 3 for $10. It looks cool, but I still like my make shift collars. I cut off the bottom of the pot the plant was grown in with scissors and position it so the top is sticking out but the plant is submersed up the first true leaves. The photo shows close ups of a couple collars.

I hope the collar is close up enough to see. The cut off pot ends up about 1.5 - 2 inches tall. I position it so a little bit is above the soil, maybe 1/4-1/2 inch, the rest is below the soil. It seems to me that cut worms don't really climb, they are more likely to dig. (If you don't have pots you can cut, use toilet paper rolls or paper cups or try the fancy Burpee ones.)

A quick search of cut worms explains that these are nocturnal hairless (ugly) caterpillars that crawl around and nibble at certain tender growing things at ground level. They chop off young tomato and broccoli stems. It is very disappointing to come out the morning after planting and find decapitated seedlings! :(

All of the other seedlings we planted yesterday are doing great too. I can relax and sleep well...

5 Comments:

Anonymous Patrick said...

It is hard living away from your garden!

The other day I harvested the Babbington's Leek I posted about, then went home forgetting about it at the garden. I really wanted to taste it, and it was going to go bad if I just left it on the ground where it was, so I had to go back and get it. That probably wasted a good hour of time.

Also, when we are cooking dinner, we have to plan the harvest carefully in advance because it's not as simple as just popping out into the backyard and grabbing what you need whenever it suits you.

It's nice having so much space, and it's nice to have contact with the other gardeners, but it's not as handy as having your own garden.

May 24, 2008 2:22 AM

 
Blogger Daphne said...

I once had a cutworm climb a plant in my garden. It climbed a pepper plant to its lowest leaves and cut them off. The pepper stem was too tough for it to chew through, but the leaves 2 1/2 inches off the ground it chomped right through. I know it is a cutworm, because it took one of the leaves and pulled it underground, wrapped itself around the stem of the leaf and slowly started eating it. That is where I found the nasty worm. That being said they usually don't climb, but you never know if you're going to get an acrobatic one.

May 24, 2008 8:05 AM

 
Blogger Jim Lemire said...

I wonder if cutworms were responsible for the destruction of my swiss chard seedlings - every one of my 1-inch seedlings in my coldframe were essentially mowed down over night. Every one!

Speaking of garden pests, here's a post from last year accounting the karmic demise of a tomato worm. Sometimes, what goes around comes around.

May 24, 2008 9:58 AM

 
Blogger kathy said...

If cutworms eat broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes, why not chard. Nasty worms. At least they could eat the whole plant and leaves like other caterpillars. Rather than leaving it lying there...

I hope I don't get any acrobatic ones in my garden!

May 24, 2008 10:56 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

My trip to the garden is 5-7 minutes depending on how many stop signs I see and who I end up behind on the road. Still it seems far. I can imagine how you felt about the forgotten leek!

I enjoy having my garden photos to look at when I cannot get to the garden. I'm looking forward to bringing home produce! None yet.

May 24, 2008 11:02 PM

 

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