What in the world is eating my broccoli?
Hello, and thank you to all of the members here. I have found this site to be an outstanding resource, and I hope that, over time, we can also contribute some useful information as you all have so graciously provided to us.
In February, my fiancee and I moved to a townhome in Dublin, CA (in the East Bay area of CA). Both of us love to garden, and being that we had been in apartments for years, wanted to take advantage of our humble back yard. Unfortunately, it receives only a few hours of sun a day (3-4 hours direct from 8A to noon, indirect thereafter), so we resigned ourself to growing cole crops and others which could live in that environment. I built 3 8'x2' free-standing raised beds (10" soil, planting grade is 3' from the ground) so she wouldn't have to bend over to work (she had juv. arthritis, didn't want it to come back!), which I also thought would prevent some pest issues... boy, was I wrong.
Our initial planting was one bed of beets, carrots and spinach. The second bed was broccoli (Packman) transplants and various lettuces. So far, a few of the lettuces have died (I have since sprayed an organic fungicide, and seems to be having much more success). We kept the third bed open for other crops. Shortly, the spinach sprouts were all but eaten, and the beets were next. Oddly, the carrots have never been touched (even though they were right in between the spinach and the beets). The second bed was by coming along nicely, when something started to bite off whole broccoli leaves; I didn't think it was an insect/slug/snail issue, as we have yet to see tracks or any of them around the garden. Something kept coming along and eating a few leaves a week, until this last weekend... they completely decimated all foliage on all the broccoli plants! I mean to the stem! I am at a complete loss as to what it could have been. We are building wire mesh covers 30" high to cover them from now on (and to place clear visqueen over for a greenhouse effect if needed), but I'd like to learn what it was that sniped our garden. Based on the following pictures, could any of you shed some light on this mystery? Thanks so much, and we look forward to being GardenWeb members!