Thursday, February 7, 2013

What's eating my plants?

The mystery begins when each day those beautiful new seedlings you have put in start looking decidedly smaller and eaten.

Here's a few of my quick and easy solutions.

My poor coriander plant last winter. Rats!
1.) First course of attack is to look for signs of slug and snail movement. Slime trails and shells are the evidence. Is there any creature under the remaining leaves? Caterpillars tend to hang around a good thing until they have had their fill.

If the leaves are left but slightly nibbled, slugs,snails and caterpillars tend to be the cause.

SNAIL FIX: Snail bait or beer in saucer.

CATERPILLAR FIX: Pick off and squash, or spray (do not spray plant it is currently in fruit)

2.) Failing the snail hypothesis, the second plan is look for signs of droppings or holes in the ground nearby. Inspect the area for any changes in the garden fence - both top and bottom.

If your plant becomes completely headless, suspect a rodent or larger intruder.

Fencing off a damaged plant will prove to be useless if it is a rat or mouse as they can easily manoeuvre their little bodies through the tightest of spaces. This will help rule out the possibility of possums.

RODENT FIX: Toss bag baits (which are only attractive to rats and mice; not cats and birds). Bait especially at any holes or detected routes.

POSSUM FIX:  Smear a mixture of Vicks VapoRub and Vaseline (petroleum jelly) along the top of any fencing and around the garden bed edges. The possums hate the smell and feel of this mix and are readily deterred.

Possums don't like it! Use it to good effect♥

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