Something is eating my seedlings

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by eco4560, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I went to water my seedlings yesterday and to my horror about 30 % of them are now green sticks without leaves - something has nibbled the tops right off. They even had a crack at the chilli seedlings. AND the chokos I had sitting there waiting for them to sprout have had holes nibbled in them (see MA something does eat choko....)
    I can't see the culprit anywhere. I have seen grasshoppers elsewhere in the garden and I would have thought that if it was caterpillars that they wouldn't walk out so fast that I can't see them.
    I've been raising seedlings for almost a year and was getting a bit cocky as so far the only losses were when I let them dry out or cooked them in the sun. Terrorist attacks are something entirely different!
    Any ideas on what it might be? And what I do about it?
     
  2. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Rabbits?, they are having a resurgence down our way and they have been eating my stuff. Unless of course you are talking about seedlings in trays. Then my guess would be slugs or snails
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Seedlings in trays in a shade house. I'm sure I wound have noticed the bunny foot prints if it were wabbits.
     
  4. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    What about earwigs, they dont leave snailtrails and could be inside some of your unused pots.
     
  5. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Mice Eco - we have taken to covering our trays each night to prevent mouse attack. We raise our seedlings in a styro corn box which has been sliced in half through the sides to make a top half and bottom half. The bottom half we put seed raising mix ( sand and peat) for moisture retention and the top half is covered with plastic to make a well fitting lid which doubles as a "hot house" and protection from mice which seem to love a bit of salad occasionally. We also set a mouse trap which catches the mouse and we relocate it. I am sure they make their way back but it takes a few days and they have to run the gambit of cats, dogs and hawks.
     
  6. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    You know mice actually makes sense... I have seen them in the yard and I couldn't figure out what grasshopper or caterpillar would nibble a 1 x 2 cm chunk out of a choko! I think I need to make a cover like you use, but too much heat is the problem here so plastic wouldn't do. Maybe shade cloth?
     
  7. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    yOU ARE NOT THE FIRST TO ACCUSE ME OF MAKING SENSE - AND i HOPE YOU WON'T BE THE LAST. Sorry about the shouting - I had caps lock on to modify my signature.
     
  8. greenfarmers

    greenfarmers Junior Member

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    Morning Eco,

    We occasionally have the same problem. Used to think it was mice and on some occasions it probably was. But we have since made a wire cage out of 5mm meesh and it still happens, albeit not as much.

    I have come to the conclusion that as well as the mice, it might also be earwigs and slaters -both of which we find breed nicely here. Only solution has been to increase the number of seedlings so we are not as effecteed by the losses. I know I should also try traps, but have just not had time.

    Hope things get better.

    Heidi.
     
  9. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    I dont know about where you're living but I get loads of problems with things getting eaten here in SOuth India. I think one of the main culprits (there are several others I'm sure) is crickets - dont know for sure but I see them on the plants and they eat big chunks not just little holes and even bite leaves off - they even like tomato leaves.
    Sometimes I put nets over the plants which seems to help until street puppies come in and enjoy jumping on it and pulling it to pieces.....
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Sindhooram - I'm so glad I don't have to battle the street puppies as well as the small critters!

    It rained today (yay!) and I stood out in the yard smelling the eucalyptus aroma and watching a kookaburra having a feast on the grasshoppers, before moving on to dig something out from under the mulch to eat (the kookaburra that is, not me). I hope he finds the mice too....
     
  11. SueUSA

    SueUSA Junior Member

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    If it's mice, you can catch them in a bucket trap. All you need is a 20-l bucket, a wire coat hanger, and an unopened soda or beer can, and a stick for a ramp. Smaller buckets don't work because the mouse can jump out.

    Straighten out the coat hanger wire. Drill (or burn) a hole in each side of the top of the bucket (just below the rim) to accept the coat hanger wire. Punch or drill a hole in the center top and center bottom of the can and drain the contents. Run the wire through the holes in the can (can should spin freely), then insert the ends of the wire in the holes you drilled in the bucket. Bend the ends down on the outsides of the bucket to hold the wire in place.

    Fasten a stick ramp from the ground to the lip of the bucket where the end of the wire is. Attach a glob of peanut butter to the side of the can. You can leave the bucket empty for live capture, or fill a third with water to drown them.

    The mice run up the stick ramp, onto the coathanger wire, onto the can toward the peanut butter, and the can rotates and dumps them into the bucket.

    Sue
     
  12. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Yes sure.:)


    No green house, but I use an old window over the top of a rectangular plant pot (polystyrene would be cheaper)-see photo album
    It is one of those "self watering" pots which I hate (just breed mosquitoes) but last winter experimented with filling the water holding bit with warm water to see if it helped germination in the colder months. (inconclusive)

    A pity everything we like to eat; ever other creature on the planet wants a bit of too!
    Mice and rats are said to get 20% of SE Asian Rice crops.

    A friend reckoned that pumpkin seeds were the best bait for mouse traps (--if you can cope with them).
     
  13. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    There's been no further attacks and the kookaburras have been hanging around much more this week - so I'm hoping they found the culprit(s). I think I'll try making a fully enclosed shade house with shade cloth and some velcro strips. I'm pretty handy with a sewing machine. Though the bucket and can trap sounds easy enough. The danger would be that after sucking the beer out of the holes I'd forget why I was standing next to a bucket with a piece of wire in my hand....
     
  14. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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  15. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Electric fencing - they are sensitive to it.
     
  16. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Provide them with a decent amount of habitat?
     
  17. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Is it too late for that?
     
  18. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    most of them (I'm talking small scale growers who are getting maybe $50-70 per month income) wont have enough money to buy electric fencing....I've never even seen it here anywhere
     
  19. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    In fact in the place I'm talking (Wayanad Kerala) the elephants do have a not too unreasonable habitat - its a pretty big forest area...but the local people (tribal origin) kind of live in the forest so they are sharing the habitat ...well I know this isnt really relevant to AU permaculture but just something I was thinking about....
     
  20. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Hmmm elephants. It reminds me of that joke we told as kids. How do you hide an elephant in your strawberry patch?

    You paint its toenails red.

    REALLY glad I don't have to deal with elephants.
     

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