Help with Kale and Broccoli

jemsister(7)April 12, 2014

I planted some kale and broccoli back in early March, and they came up fine, looked good. Then I started seeing small nibbles here and there. Really tiny ones. This was all followed by some sleet, which I thought would kill them, but they survived. Still, I noticed them slowly disappearing. Now they are all gone! Any ideas what it could be? I'm container gardening. I haven't seen any bugs or pests, no slug trails, no animal tracks... (I live in the suburbs with high fences, so I don't think there would be much in the way of wildlife.) Anyway, whatever it is, it's only going after the cabbage family. Everything else in the garden is untouched. Here's a pic of the damage I was seeing.

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Here is another pic of damaged seedlings.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 4:14PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I would guess slugs or possibly earwigs or pill bugs. They all hide in cool, moist places during the day and feed at night. The last two only seem to do significant damage to very small seedlings, while slugs can wipe out whole seedlings. I've had no luck starting cole crops outdoors in containers (or in ground) because they seem to be so tasty at that tender stage. It's much more likely they will survive if they are four to six weeks old when they go outdoors. You don't usually see slug "tracks." You can control them with diatomaceous earth, but that loses its effectiveness when it gets wet, so you must keep applying it. I like to use iron phosphate slug bait like sluggo or escar-go because it stays effective when wet. All of these organic pesticides are generally considered safe for people, pets and beneficial insects.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Thanks very much, Ohio! I do see earwigs and pillbugs around here, so I'm thinking that might be it. I guess I might need to start my seeds indoors.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 5:09PM
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