First Casualty In The Garden…A Murder Mystery

It happens every year.  You plant your garden and know deep down inside of you that there will be some sort of problem that happens before you even harvest your first vegetable.  You get yourself ready for the disappointment.  You think about what will be the type of bug that wipes something out.  If it is not a bug, maybe some sort of critter.  You look at all of your plantings and try to figure out which one will be affected.  You vow to do your best to combat whatever it is that is hurting your garden.  Then it happens.  This year, I’m calling the problem “The Case Of The Murdered Cabbages”.  I swear to you that three hours after planting my cabbage plants, I returned to the garden to find the little plants munched down to almost nothing by some sort of villain.  The problem is that I just couldn’t figure out who the culprit was.

What would do this so quickly and thoroughly?  While I was digging some cabbages up and replacing them with new plants and trimming the little arms of others, it dawned on me.  It was a woodchuck.  Why you ask?  Well, the Notorious B. I. G. (Brooklyn Italian Grandmother) had mentioned that she saw a furry animal running around the back yard a couple of times during the week.  Since raccoons only come out at night, I just knew it was a woodchuck she had seen and the same critter ate my baby cabbages.  Remember, the fence around the back yard keeps the deer out, so my only logical solution had to be that a woodchuck had squeezed under the fence and ate my cabbages.  Always having a flair for the dramatic, I quickly put a two-step plan of action in motion.  First, I would put a small fence around my new raised beds.  Yes, it is a fence within a fence.  I quickly worked to build a small green plastic fence around my two new raised beds and then the new secured garden would have the deer fence around it as well for added protection.  Second, I would call a local hunter that I knew from the area and have him lay a couple of humane traps.  The traps would catch the critter and then we could transport it to a far away wooded area where it could eat dead leaves and weeds.  That’s what a woodchuck eats for dinner…not baby cabbage plants.  The fence was installed….the traps were laid……all was good in cabbage land.

Then it happened again!  Nearly a week later.  When I saw the little nibbled purple cabbage plants, I got weak in my knees.  How could this happen again?  After spending $200 on my make-shift fence and trapping a raccoon, a squirrel and some other type of critter that my friend told me I didn’t want to know about, the cabbage murderer was still stalking the premises.  I felt violated.  I felt angry.  I wanted revenge.

It was off to the nursery for some more cabbage plants.  I had run out of the ones that I grew from seeds under my grow light.  At the nursery, I told my murder mystery story to anyone who would listen.  One of the nursery employees told me that it sounded like a slug infestation.  Slugs?  Those little snail-like creatures without a shell?  Could they do this much damage?  Can they eat this much?  I left with some new cabbage plants and some Sluggo, an organic pellet that kills slugs dead.  I also put out two bowls filled with beer.  Slugs like their booze.  When they reach for the beer, they fall into the suds and then that’s it for them.  They drown, but drown drunk, which is probably the best way to go in my opinion.  So far the Sluggo and beer seem to be working.  My cabbages seem to be growing.

I’ll keep you posted.  Also, if you see the displaced raccoon, squirrel and the unnamed creature that I had transported to another wooded area, let them know I am sorry and I will pick them up and bring them back to Glen Road on Saturday afternoon.  As well, let me know if you have any ideas (other than a slug) on what is eating my cabbage.  Help me solve “The Case Of The Murdered Cabbages”.

6 thoughts on “First Casualty In The Garden…A Murder Mystery

  1. The first casualties for me were from potato beetles. After I got rid of them the rabbits attacked. Even though you know it’s coming it’s still disappointing.

  2. We are fully caged and slugs can still be an issue.

    So we have to use sluggo as well. There is an organic version and it works just fine. And the slugs can do a number on tender plants…

    • Hi putneyfarm. Welcome back to Acorns On Glen. Isn’t it maddening when you walk outside and see something ruined in your garden? We have been having some really hot weather here lately, so hopefully that will deter the slugs from eating much more. Keep your fingers crossed and I’ll keep everyone posted. Come back and visit soon.

  3. Hi there Martko1964!
    I was directed to your blog from a google search I made trying to figure out what killed my young cabbage plants. They were obliterated in much the same way as yours. I am confounded as well. I am going to be trying diatomaceous earth in the event that it is cutworm (a suggestion from the local farm and garden place-though I’m not fully convinced) and netting to deter any birds or pheasants. I was thinking fencing and trapping too, but see that it was not that successful for you. (by the way, thank you so much for posting your trials and errors!) Diatomaceous earth is supposed to work for snails and slugs as well-it’s cheap, easy to use and organic. I will let you know asap what-if anything- works for me. I hope that your little plants recover and flourish and you have no more casualties! Good luck! Gardening in solidarity,

    • Hi Marita. Welcome to Acorns On Glen. So funny that you are dealing with cabbage murder as well! It is so frustrating. If it is not the slugs, the last thing it could be is chipmunks. Do you have chipmunks in your neck of the woods? The reason I write this is because I saw two chipmunks squeeze under the garden fence and guess what they did? They started eating the Sluggo pellets I had poured on the soil to kill the slugs. Maybe they continue and just eat the cabbage as well??? I still think it is slugs and so I am going to the nursery and buying some diatomaceous earth. Haven’t heard of that but it is sure worth a try. Let me know if it works and I’ll keep you posted on our end. Come back and visit soon.

  4. I have had the same problem in my garden awhile ago and I was told about Diatomaceous earth it is all natural it is just ground up shells and I have used it with great success. It is something that is safe to put in your plants as well however I don’t do that alot,I make paths in my garden around all of my plants and dust my string bean plants but all others get the path. It works on slugs and snails as well . It has saves me alot of garden loss and aggravation .I got mine at Lowe’s good luck

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