While weeding, I noticed an awful lot of these fat little caterpillars hiding in the grass.
Oh crap, I thought (poetically). I’ll betcha those are cutworms…
Sure enough. We don’t just have “some” cutworms, we have a wriggling backyard full of the blasted things.
But, now I know why the birds are out there first thing every morning hopping around as fast at their fat little bellies will let them. Go, birds, go!!!
I am a bit discouraged by the advice given for non-chemical cutworm control. Mind you I’m not above using the stuff; like most things in my life, I’m a big believer in moderation over elimination.
But my big thing (well, apart from the cost of those chemical aids) is, I don’t want to use anything back there that would cause me to have a heart attack and die if I looked up the next day and saw Captain Adventure eating a handful of dirt.
Which he still does, although not always intentionally. He just like to really play in the dirt, and he’ll sink his hands up to his elbows in the stuff, and then he’ll rub at his face, lick his fingers, etc. etc. etc.
And I don’t want to be putting anything in the ground out there that turns his play into a trip to the emergency room, thanks all the same.
So, I’m looking for good ways to get rid of those little bastards – good, thorough ways – that don’t involve labels with warnings about not allowing pets or children to come near the dirt ever again as long as they live.
It’s a depressing list for the time-impaired gardener.
Hand picking? Yeah, I’ll get right on that, just get out there all night long crawling through my garden with a flashlight looking for the nocturnal little lumberjacks. Argh.
Installing little paper collars on all my plants? Ahem. Yes. Well. If I had, you know, a dozen plants, or even three dozen, that might be a workable solution…but tomatoes alone, I’ve got over 160. Plus, well, a whack of Other Stuff. I haven’t bothered to count all the way up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the plants needing protection will hit the thousand mark by the end of spring.
And how many hours do I have available for fiddling around with little paper collars to protect each and every precious little blossom…?
I suspect my best bet may be cutworm-eating nematodes, or a bag of Bacillus Thuringiensis. Although I haven’t been able to look at a label on that stuff yet, so, I guess we’ll have to see on that. “Organic” does not always equate to “harmless” or “safe.” Which is a pet peeve of mine that could take about sixty thousand pages of ranting. This thing where people automatically assume that ‘organic’ automatically means ‘better,’ or worse, ‘safe’…ARGH.
Did you know (oh boy, here it comes) that apparently there is a growing trend out there where people do not wash “organic” vegetables when they get them home? While a certain percentage of our population has always played roulette that way, apparently the trend among organic buyers has been growing at an alarming rate – alarming because farming, especially on a scale that results in a market stall, is a dirty business.
Two words for you, folks: Cow. Poop.
That’s right. It’s probably on your organic vegetables. And chicken poop, too. There’s nothing wrong with that. They’re great natural fertilizers.
But do you want to be putting it in your mouth?
Didn’t think so.
Wash the danged vegetables.
And with that, I’m off to work. Where I will undoubtedly spend a fair amount of the day fretting about cutworms, and with the old cant running through my mind… one for the cutworm, one for the crow, one to rot and one to grow…
John Kenneth Galbraith
21 hours ago