When I planted my first garden I was so proud and excited to see all the little plants in a row, well watered.
The next day I went out to check on my new garden only to find stalks where my beautiful little plants had stood the day before! I replanted my garden three times that years. I only wish I had known a little more about the dreaded garden pest called cutworms.
There are several ways to prevent cutworms from cutting your plants off at the base, and even some ways to prevent cutworms from infesting your garden.
Coffee Cans: Put a coffee can around the base of your new plants. If the worms can't get to the stems, they can't cut them off. Coffee cans also allow you to water in a directed manner, filling the can sends water straight to the roots.
Aluminum Foil: Wrap the stems of your new plants with aluminum foil. This is another barrier method. The cutworms can not eat through aluminum, so even if they are in the garden they will not be able to eat through your plants.
Those are two easy and cheap ways to protect your plants. Here's a way to keep these particularly ravenous pests out of your garden.
Nematodes: These are a naturally occurring microorganism. They are less than 1/2 millimeter in size. These little critters feed on cutworms but also on grubs which eventually become Japanese beetles, Colorado potato beetle grubs, root weevils and even flea larvae. Nematodes are naturally occurring and unlike chemicals will not hurt your plants, yard, animals or children. Nematodes invade the worm and then multiply devouring the grub or other pest.
You can purchase nematodes to use in your garden or lawn. They generally come in a sponge. You moisten the sponge and then put it in a watering device you attach to the hose. Then all you have to do is water the area you wish to apply the nematodes. It's that easy. The nematodes generally begin attacking pests within 48 hours and they keep working all summer, as long as the soil stays moist.
These tips should keep your plants safe and your garden free of cutworms.