April 12, 2006

Cutworm Barriers

The rain has departed, at least for now! Outside it is bright and sunny and song birds are chirping away with glee. I will have to remember to put new birdseed into my feeder for them. The pepper plants are starting to get over their transplant shock. The few that had tipped over a bit are now growing upright. They seem happy in the new raised bed.

I managed to place cutworm barriers around my more delicate pepper plants and so far, the barriers are working! This is a method of organic protection that my friend Bobbi Ann Chukran told me about last year. She likes to grow Texan piquins in her garden and this is how she protects them. This is the first time that I've tried this method and so far, it seems to be working well. I can't tell you how many of my little pepper seedlings have been murdered by cutworms! This year I am hoping to change that.

BTW, Bobbi has just published her first murder mystery novel. "Lone Star State of Death" is a history mystery with a well-researched Texas setting and fine cast of characters, including Sam(antha) Slater, a sleuth with gumption and a sense of humor. You can download the first 2 chapters of her novel for free via her website.

To make your own cutworm barriers, you first take a plastic drinking cup. Mine is a 16oz size one. You cut out the bottom, leaving a few inches of the cup. After you plant your seedling, you put the cup around the pepper plant and press it into the soil about an inch. Voila! The plastic is slippery and doesn't allow the cutworms to get to the stem of your plant! It not only saves your plants, but it is a completely organic method.

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