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The Culprit Has Been Found! (But not caught)

September 10, 2013

If you’ve read my blog this summer, you know I have been griping about critters attacking my veggies, specifically my beets. My first attempt was to spray the leaves with a mild soap and water solution in the evenings.  This seemed to work well, but given the amount of rain we received – it was difficult to continue and it didn’t always work (just ask my now-deceased sorrel and the now-thriving basil).

Mangled BasilThe basil was definitely a victim of the caterpillar stage of our friendly pale yellow butterflies.  My second solution was actually a solution of soapy water and cayenne pepper. I’m not sure it worked, but the basil began to thrive after a lot of good sun and rain and a little relaxation on my part, where I found inspiration from a fellow blogger to “let the bugs have a few leaves.”  It worked, I have loads of basil.

Re-sprouting sorrelI suspected the insects with respect to the sorrel as well, but now I’m not sure.  I had ravaged the sorrel because it had grown into a tall (over 4′) mess. I was a little over-zealous and cut it to the ground, but tiny little leaves had just begun to poke their way through the mulch when they were munched off.  What an ignominious end – survived a stomping on from a dog, only to be mangled by its owner and  struggle to sprout again, then thoroughly eliminated by …?

2013-08-24 17.26.03

I was determined to bring my final crop (beets) to fruition. Excited that they germinated so quickly, I prepared the washtub to receive the seedlings. I happily  planted them at about 2″ tall, only to find myself replacing seedlings every morning as they were nibbled on.  I suspected everything four-footed from squirrels to bunnies.

I decided to become over-protective. I sprinkled mass amounts of cayenne pepper (wonder what that will do to their flavour?) , my final seedlings were going to become beets, dammit!  Still the nibbles. I covered the entire tub with chicken wire.  Success! However, I managed to leave the top up after checking up and weeding the tub this morning and of course, more nibbling. Aarrgh.

But this time, having frightened an audacious chipmunk off the porch, I was pretty sure of the culprit. The evidence is clear. note the obvious bite marks on the leaf in the middle. I haven’t caught him, but I’ve battened down the hatches on the beets. Chippy can just find some other leafy green to munch on!

Evidence of Chippy

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