Harvest Monday, March 5, 2012 – Taking Care of Cutworms

After spending days if not weeks starting and tending to the seedlings indoor, the day would finally arrive when I could get into the garden and put those precious seedlings into their prepared outdoor beds.

I would carefully remove the hardened off seedlings from the pots, place each at the proper spacing and depth and give them a nice drink of fish emulsion fertilizer. Satisfied, I would say goodnight to the seedlings and retire for the day.

Could not wait for daybreak to check on the little darlings, only to discover, quite a few are missing, what horror!!!!!

Oh yes, the dreaded cutworms came to visit during the night. Fortunately, experienced gardeners always have a few extra seedlings just in case they are needed (will gave away if not needed).

Get to work immediately.

Replace the missing seedlings, and this time, remember to take care of the cutworms.

March to the shed and:
1. Get out the box of round toothpicks (bamboo skewers will work too, some people use nails)
2. Plant two (2) toothpicks (one on each side of the seedling as close to the stem as possible without damaging the stem) halfway into the soiil. When the cutworm wraps itself around the toothpicked-plant it is unable cut through. Plant saved.

Must always remember to take care of the cutworms during the initial transplanting.

Copyright © by Norma Chang

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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61 Responses to Harvest Monday, March 5, 2012 – Taking Care of Cutworms

  1. ChgoJohn says:

    What a great, environmentally safe, way to handle these garden pests! Too bad you’ve already lost a few seedlings but good to know they’ll be the last. You’ve taught me something today and thank you!

  2. Robin says:

    That’s a great tip Norma! It’s much easier then putting a ring around them. I’m going to do it this way from now on.

  3. Daphne says:

    I use the same technique for cutworms. Occasionally the cutworm finds the stem and cuts it anyway. I use hosta flower stems though. Well Usually. The hostas in my new garden aren’t quite big enough yet to give me my supply. This year it might be toothpicks or skewers. Unless I can find some other dead stem around the garden to use.

  4. leduesorelle says:

    We use toothpicks also, can’t afford to lose very many seedlings when it’s a small garden!

  5. Marcia says:

    This is a new method for me. I’ve always used collars made from paper cups. May have to consider trying your method.

  6. kitsapfg says:

    Cutworms are evil little chaps but the chickens sure love them! I let my hens run in the garden during the winter and they work over the soil in the empty beds and the garden walkways – removing weeds that emerge and getting the various bugs that reside in the top few inches of the soil. Has really reduced my cutworm problems and delays the onslaught of slugs in the spring as they have to move back in rather than be current residents.

  7. Thanks for tip! I’ve not yet encountered cut worms…and hope I never do…but now I know how to take care of them! Happy planting!

  8. Hi Norma-love your technique-fingers crossed you won’t lose any more little plants…

  9. Wilderness says:

    Oh yes the dreaded cutworm. It is great joy however when they do get a plant to dig around the plant and find the culprit and then you can be sure he will never do that again.

  10. Kim says:

    Some how hope spring eternal and you hope the cutworms will not find you this time :0).

    Oh thank heavens this winter is nearly over!

    Happy Gardening Norma

  11. What a fantastic tip, Norma! Thank you for sharing that!

  12. Phuong says:

    Thank you Mrs. Chang, for the new gardening tip. I’ve been enjoying reading your blog and recipes.

  13. Barbie says:

    AH! I forget about this often, and end up replanting, or replacing before I remember. Thanks for the reminder!!!

  14. maryhysong says:

    Thanks for the reminder about cutworms! I haven’t seen any yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t lurking in the soil!

  15. wow what a great idea – I have seen people use toilet rolls, which tends to block the light, but I like this idea better

  16. I just put arugula in the ground. Love this time of year!

  17. Liz says:

    I’ve never heard of cutworms – perhaps we don’t get them here – something I am very glad about.

  18. Purely.. Kay says:

    I just love visiting your blog Ms. Norma. You always have wonderful articles on growing herbs or fresh produce. I can’t wait to grow something one day

  19. Andrea says:

    What a great idea and thanks for sharing, will be buying some extra toothpicks.

  20. Joanne says:

    I’ve never heard of cutworms before but they sound awful!

  21. Amber says:

    Always enjoy visiting your blog….especially the “garden to wok” posts where you stir fry. Although I am Italian with a little Polish and Slavic mixed in….I always say (and my friends do too) that I must also have a little Asian in me 🙂

  22. Kristy says:

    I have learned something new today. Well, a few things. I never knew what a cutworm was until today and now I know how to prevent them from eating up plants. Now if I can just figure out how to actually manage a garden…Someday. 🙂

  23. Juliana says:

    Hi Norma! Great tips for the cutworms…like the little toothpicks by the stem.
    I just want you to know that I did some sprouting: chickpeas and lentils…will post in the near future…they came out great and tasty.
    Again thank you so much for all the tips.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Juliana,
      So glad your chickpeas and lentil sprouts came out great and tasty. I am looking forward to reading your posts on how you used them. A fantastic week to you too.

  24. There’s so much I don’t know about gardening! Since I do have a small garden, your tips will come in handy. Now I know to watch for cutworms…and just what to do when I encounter them!

  25. Not sure what a cut worm is, but it sounds really nasty. I tried growing seedlings twice; the first time the mice ate them, the second time they got really mouldy. Now I just buy a couple of mature tomato plants and plant them in pots over the garage. I’m really looking forward to spring, the weather keep teasing…it’s going up to 13°C tomorrow! WooHoo!

  26. Charles says:

    Hi Norma – what a fabulous tip. I don’t think I experience the problem with balcony gardening but I’ll tell my mother this – though I’m not even sure if these worms exist in England either… great tip all the same though. I’m all in favour of ethical and environmentally friendly methods like this 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charles,
      Agree, you will not have cutworms problem, they have not yet learned how to climb onto a balcony.
      I do try to be environmentally friendly not always successful though.

  27. Diana says:

    We have not encountered problems with cutworm yet. But that very damaging what they can do in one night. Neat trick to prevent the problem. Always handy to have extra seedlings.

  28. That is a great tip! Thank you for sharing.I just love this time of the year

  29. Lrong says:

    Good tip… cut worms are pretty common here too… I use tomato cans to protect my seedlings…

  30. Sophie says:

    That’s a great idea to save the young plants! You clever woman! 🙂

  31. Pingback: Harvest Monday, March 7, 2016 – Container Garlic Experiment + More Seed Starting + Garden Tips | Garden to Wok

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