Friday, April 21, 2017

Every Season Has Its Issues...


The weather finally turned a couple of weeks ago, after our April snowstorm, and I have been busy with bed prep, seeding and transplanting.  It’s wonderful to finally be working outside!

Since the weather outlook was promising, with temps staying above freezing for the most part, I spent some time this past weekend hooking up the drip system.  Of course, things didn’t run as smoothly as I would have liked.  A vacuum breaker fitting that my husband left on one of the hoses had corroded and essentially fused with the hose – my bad as I forgot to tell him that any fittings should be taken off the hoses before storing.

The faucet is a strange size (larger than usual) and requires specialty fittings.
The fitting that is fused to the hose is the only one that will fit and it was a PAIN to source.

Then I went to hook up the series of 100’ hoses that run water to the hilltop and one of them was leaking.  Ugh!  I had only purchased that particular hose last year and it’s a “heavy duty” one.  Thankfully, I purchased it at Costco and they have a great return policy.  Nonetheless, it’s frustrating to have these types of delays.

So with the good weather comes plenty of transplanting & seeding.  The onions and leeks were transplanted last week – a tedious job, but one that’s well worth the effort:

Hard to believe that those barely there, wispy leaves
will turn into fat onions in only a few months

I used a dibble for transplanting the leeks and was quite happy with how well it worked:


Yesterday, however, I saw some damage in one of the onion beds and it has me worried.  Several of the onion seedlings are cut off right at the base.  My first thought - cutworms.

Cutworm damage

Further evidence that they are the culprit?  The seedlings are near the centre of the bed and the surrounding area has clearly not been trampled on, which rules out the main garden nuisance - bunnies.

At least a dozen or so seedlings were affected and I've tried rooting in the soil to see if I can find the worm(s) - well, technically caterpillars - but have had no luck.  Collaring the seedlings is out of the question as there are far too many of them.

Decapitated seedling that was also uprooted


I decided to sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the soil although, with the recent rains, the soil is rather wet so I'm not sure how effective that will be.  There's a bag of eggshells in the shed that I have used with some success for slugs - I think I'll sprinkle some of those over the bed this afternoon as well.

Fingers crossed that this will do the trick.  I've not had cutworms in the garden before so this was quite a surprise.  Just goes to show that you never know what each season will throw at you...

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

14 comments:

  1. Oh drat! I've had a little trouble with cutworms, but of course, I don't have a large operation like you do. So, the collars seem to help. I think I'm going to try coffee grounds around my seedlings this year, too. I've heard that can help keep ants and cutworms at bay. http://www.almanac.com/pest/cutworms.

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    1. I'd not heard of the coffee ground trick - that's good to know & there certainly is no shortage of grounds at our house! You'll have to let us know how that works out in your garden.

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  2. I tried a new variety of onion this year and it did not transplant very well, and yes sowing and transplanting them is very tedious indeed. I spray Bt around the base of the plant to stop cutworms. They have attacked cole crop seedlings here on occasion.

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    1. Oh, that's too bad about your onions, especially after all the work of getting them into the ground. Hopefully they'll perk up as the season progresses. BT did come to mind but have no idea where to get it as I've not used it before - I will have to keep a look out now as it seems to come in handy in many different situations.

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  3. There's so many things just waiting to thwart the gardener whether it be pests, the weather or other things. At least the weather seems to be playing nice for you now, there's been snow forecast for parts of the UK next week, I hope we don't get it here.

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    1. That's so true, Jo - you know that every year something or other will get to your crops, it's just a matter of who will it be this time. Fingers crossed that snow stays north of you!

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  4. Hope you figure out what's doing it.
    I had that problem and it was BIRDS. Yea. Blue Jays, to be exact. I thought cutworms as well, until I caught one red-handed (footed?). I keep my onions covered up with Agribon now for the first couple of weeks until they get better established and can recover from assaults.
    Good luck

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    1. Thanks Sue. I haven't seen (or heard) any Blue Jays yet, but I'm wondering if the robins - which are very active right now - would do that. I've been meaning to cover the beds anyhow with netting to keep out onion maggots, so I guess I'll be doing that sooner rather than later.

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  5. Sorry you are having a problem and hope that what you are doing helps! There is always something to keep us on our toes it seems! I planted a few old onion bulb in the new strawberry bed and a couple are peeking through! Nancy

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    1. Thanks Nancy - fingers crossed that whatever it is doesn't enjoy crawling or standing on eggshells! How exciting about your onions - do let us know about their progress :)

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  6. The uprooted onion seedling makes me think birds. They've gone through my onion seedlings in the past, munching the tops and pulling them out. A covering of tulle fabric for a few weeks helped.

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    1. Two votes for birds! I'm on the fence because the 2nd onion bed doesn't have any damage at all. On the other hand, I was out there with a flashlight last night and didn't see any cutworms. I'll be getting out the netting today!

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  7. It's so true, it is always something. I'm not sure which is worse to deal with, cutworms or birds. I am thinking cutworms, since you can cover and keep out birds, though that is a big hassle. I hope you figure out the culprit soon!

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    1. Unless you catch them red handed (like Sue), it's sometimes so hard to tell who is to blame - sneaky little buggers! I'll be covering the beds with netting today - hopefully I'll have all my bases covered (so long as the eggshells/diatomaceous earth works!)

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