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Stolen hot pepper plants

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Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  darci.strutt on 6/17/2013, 9:10 am

I'm down to one hot pepper plant. I tenderly, lovingly grew four of them from seed in my basement. They transplanted beautifully and were healthy and strong. Then one morning one of them was missing the stem. The leaves were in a little pile where the stem use to be...then the next day they too were gone. We just came back from a weekend away and two more plants are gone - totally gone. No holes, no footprints, no sign of struggle but the plants are just totally gone.

I have a deer fence dug into the ground around the garden and a good gate. There's no sign of anything else being picked at. I just build the garden last year, and laid a weed barrier underneath so I'm hoping no tunneling creatures could get in.

I have one hot pepper plant left, and four sweet pepper that were untouched just one box over. Birds? Space Aliens? Any ideas?

idk
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Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  johnp on 6/17/2013, 9:30 am

Cut worms
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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  llama momma on 6/17/2013, 9:47 am

I wish the time invested growing from seed was a guarantee of success. When I see toms and pepper transplants for just 1.59 at the store, makes me wonder do I really want to invest so much of my time next year growing those from seed. Have to remember the savings from one packet of seed and the freedom to grow more varieties and if you rank satisfaction from growing it yourself.

If it was cutworms then I suggest toothpick protection, I find it works every time. Transplant with one on each side of the plant and the cutworm is unable to wrap itself around the stem, slicing it off.
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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/17/2013, 10:12 am

@darci.strutt wrote:  Then one morning one of them was missing the stem.  The leaves were in a little pile where the stem use to be...

I had the exact same thing with 2 out of 5 of mine. It's heart breaking, I know. I searched around for cutworms, didn't find any and decided it was rabbits. Fortunately there was some stem left with one or 2 nodes on each one and Camprn thinks they will grow to be nice and bushy now. So I put some chicken wire around that box and so far so good.

Did you dig down to see if the roots are still there?

CC
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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  quiltbea on 6/17/2013, 1:49 pm

I agree with the toothpick barrier as per Llama mamma.  I use it, too.
Some of my cukes sprouts came up last week and were looking good and healthy.  I didn't have my bottle of toothpicks in my pocket and completely forgot about it a couple days.  The next day I came prepared with toothpicks, but the plants were GONE.  Or most of them.  The remaining ones I quickly stuck 2 toothpicks alongside the stems.  Right up against the stem and halfway into the soil.  So far, knock on wood, they are thriving.  Cutworms have to wrap themselves around the stem to cut it off and can't with the toothpick in the way.
I put toothpicks alongside toms, peppers, eggplants, broccoli, cauliflower, anything with a stem poking up out of the soil, even my squash transplants.  Saved them every time.  When the plants get big enuf, they push the toothpicks right out of the way so you don't have to worry about them crowding the plant.
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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  darci.strutt on 6/17/2013, 9:03 pm

I headed back out there with toothpicks in hand!! My lone hot pepper is still with us. I dug a bit and found the stem of the other three just under the surface. I left a little stem sticking out of the earth and will hope to get a side shoot like you've said could happen. I put toothpicks beside each of the stems of all the peppers and more beside the tomatoes, cucumber and zuc too.

Crazy! I didn't realize they would take 100% away. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the colorful picks will protect my stems now! Thank you for your quick responses! I needed them!

thanks
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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  Dogalot on 6/19/2013, 8:39 am

@llama momma wrote:
If it was cutworms then I suggest toothpick protection, I find it works every time.  Transplant with one on each side of the plant and the cutworm is unable to wrap itself around the stem, slicing it off.

I apologize being such a newby -- but can you describe the "toothpick technique"? Or upload a picture? Thanks!

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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  TxGramma on 6/19/2013, 11:31 am

Dogalot, you stick a couple of toothpicks in the ground standing up around the stem of each of your seedlings/transplants (like mini stakes-but two per plant and you don't tie them lol) so that the cutworms can't wrap around the stem. As the plant grows it will push the picks out of the way.
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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  camprn on 6/19/2013, 11:50 am

I use a paper collar for the same purpose.

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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  Dogalot on 6/19/2013, 1:06 pm

Thanks! Now if it would work for those pesky Tomato worms...

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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  quiltbea on 6/19/2013, 3:34 pm

Camprn....I found the newspaper collars too exasperating to get around the stems and I wiggled the stem so much I was concerned for its health.  The roots got shaken quite a bit in the process.
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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  jazzycat on 6/19/2013, 3:51 pm

I just used toothpicks, as someone suggested. Very easy to do.

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Re: Stolen hot pepper plants

Post  camprn on 6/19/2013, 4:29 pm

@quiltbea wrote:Camprn....I found the newspaper collars too exasperating to get around the stems and I wiggled the stem so much I was concerned for its health.  The roots got shaken quite a bit in the process.
I use toilet paper tubes cut in half then slit up the side. Wrap it around the stem and push it into the dirt. And I don't stab myself later with them. What a Face

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