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Friday, May 14, 2010

Cutworm Collars

Just in case any beginning organic veggie gardeners are reading this blog: don't forget your cutworm collars!

If you have been nuturing little seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, and other tenders since February as I have, you are about to put them outside to grow like crazy. But in a flash, all your seedlings can be lost overnight. Cutworms. I have never actually seen one at work - but I have had my heart broken by their damage. Precious little seedlings gone.

The solution is to make small cardboard rings for your seedlings. I make mine out of posterboard or cardstock - nothing too heavy. I save cardboard that comes with shirts or with the package of laser printer labels, but I am not above just buying a sheet of poster board. I cut a strip perhaps 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall, and as wide as needed to make a circle that fits right around the plant with some wiggle room. Staple together. Makes a great project to do while watching TV.

As you plant your seedlings, put a cardboard ring around each plant, pushing it into the ground just a bit, because if it comes up, the cutworm can just crawl under and cut the stem. Cutworms can't handle older stems, just the young and tender, so the rings don't have to last all season. Rain won't destroy them, but eventually you will want to remove the remains once the stems are nice and strong.

I have done this for more years than I can count, and it makes a big differnce. A few years back I thought I would save time by eliminating this step... of course, you know the end of this story...

  Copyright 2010,

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