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What creature is eating my vegetable plants? (Picture included)

Posted by markie_l Texas (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 27, 09 at 15:09

Ok, here's the backstory: We just bought a home in a residential area this year. I built a raised garden bed this fall and planted carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, broccoli and brussel sprouts. There were a few bites taken out of ripening tomatoes but nothing too serious... until 4 weeks ago.

Then, something started eating my brussel sprouts. Within two weeks all the baby sprouts were gone, and then the mysterious bandit went for the leaves. I included a picture. Very depressing. Those plants were pulled out, in the vain hope that whatever it was would leave my garden alone if the brussel sprouts were gone. Wishful thinking - the broccoli was attacked last night, along with some of the onions. The carrots are unscathed - so it's either not rabbits, or Looney Tunes lied to me.

The clues: Some poop? They were oval shaped and about 1mm wide and 2-3 mm long. I have a picture of it, but I can't figure out how to post more than one picture in a post. Also, the damage seems to happen at night only. There aren't any footprints or tunnels that I could find.

Any help would be greatly appreciated... this is my first time trying to garden and it's so disappointing to see it all disappear under my nose!

Image link: What creature is eating my vegetable plants? (Picture included) (42 k)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What creature is eating my vegetable plants? (Picture include

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 27, 09 at 16:48

Your damage looks significant to me, I would have guessed animal of some type. But - the poop you describe would be more like caterpillar or climbing cutworm, go out after dark with a flashlight and take a look, you should find what is munching then.

RE: What creature is eating my vegetable plants? (Picture include

If the poop is dark green lift up the leaves and look under for light green or brown fuzzy worms. I have never had rabbits do anything to carrots but there is always a first time. Do you have small turtles in your area they have a bad habit of taking one bite to see if they like something then if it tastes good eating it. Tomatoes where there are many of the especially box turtles are a favorite.

RE: What creature is eating my vegetable plants? (Picture include

Morz8: I went out with a flashlight and did find a caterpillar on the top of the soil! Only one... but maybe cutworms don't eat every night? It was also brown, so perhaps I missed it's buddies. I'll check again tomorrow night. I guess it's also possible I have multiple pests doing damage, if it does turn out to be only one.

Maifleur: The poop was a dark brown color. I don't think it's turtles - the bed is raised 18 inches, so it seems like that would present a challenge for them.

If rabbits have left your carrots alone then I guess there went my comfy theory that I had ruled out rabbits at least :). I'll have to see if I can find some way that they could be getting in the yard once it's light out again.

Thank you, thank you both for your suggestions!!

RE: What creature is eating my vegetable plants? (Picture include

I'm leaning towards cabbage worm for the brassica damage.

The brussel sprouts maybe Ciscoe Morris


Here is a link that might be useful: Cabbageworm

RE: What creature is eating my vegetable plants? (Picture include

Well, I think I may have found the culprit. Someone local mentioned that they had similar looking damage a while ago and it turned out to be rodents. So I put some traps out and have since been catching large (and rather plump...) mice. Drove them out to some woods and released them - hopefully no one else has a garden near there!

RE: What creature is eating my vegetable plants? (Picture include

I'll betcha that your 'rather plump' mice were voles.

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