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BS: Gardening mystery help required

Penny S. 05 May 13 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,Eliza 05 May 13 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Eliza 05 May 13 - 06:41 PM
JohnInKansas 05 May 13 - 06:45 PM
gnu 06 May 13 - 06:51 AM
Wolfhound person 06 May 13 - 08:27 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 May 13 - 01:17 PM
John MacKenzie 06 May 13 - 02:32 PM
Roger the Skiffler 07 May 13 - 06:07 AM
Penny S. 07 May 13 - 08:03 AM
gnu 08 May 13 - 06:43 AM

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Subject: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: Penny S.
Date: 05 May 13 - 04:59 PM

After last year's slug feasting I decided to germinate my veggies before planting them out, and have trays in my spare bedroom full of various things merrily sprouting. A few failures, as one might expect. But a few odd things as well. My spare room is not on the round floor, or the next floor up, but the floor above that (long description to get round the pond differences). You wouldn't expect pests to get up there. But something (not slugs, anyway - no slime) has chewed off parts of some of the peas. Three of them have not been able to put on the full growth that others have, with the leaves apparently cut across in straight lines. The window is usually shut, apart from a narrow gap for ventilation, but has been opened on some warm days. There is no evidence of any animal presence in the room, apart from the odd jumping spider.

Any ideas what could possibly remove parts of the leaves so completely? One plant seems to have some mashed pieces lying on the compost, but they could just as well be algal growth on the compost.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 05 May 13 - 06:37 PM

Penny, I can only think that the bugs were in the compost or growing medium you planted the seedlings in, or perhaps lurking in the pots/seedling trays you used. If they're under the surface of the compost you wouldn't necessarily see them. Or, could it be a small beetle-type insect that has winged its way through your open window, had a munch and burrowed into the compost for a time or winged its way out again?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 05 May 13 - 06:41 PM

Sorry, my contribution posted itself before I'd finished! Depending where you live, there are leaf-cutting ants and bees, both of which could have come in and gone out again!


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 May 13 - 06:45 PM

If there's a possibility that pet cats might get in the room, you've probably already thought of their liking for "nibbles" on almost any fresh growth. Quite often they're fussy enough to only take a taste and look for something more to their liking, indicating more curiosity than desperate hunger.

In any untended/unoccupied room, you might also suspect mice; but their peculiar habit that every time their mouth goes shut a little pellet comes out of the other end makes it easy to detect where they've been around pretty obviously. The "pellets" might be hidden in compost and not too visible, but any flat surfaces in the vicinity would have the same clues.

The most likely villains are probably insects of some sort, but about the only way to identify a particular kind would be to find one at the scene of the crime. Identification based on dental records (bite marks) isn't commonly of much practical use in such crimes.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: gnu
Date: 06 May 13 - 06:51 AM

Say! Me too. And, I used very old peas... only two of over a dozen sprouted. 50% of my crop has suffered the same fate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 06 May 13 - 08:27 AM

Field mice? (Apodemus sylvaticus)

They can get anywhere and into anything, and don't leave trails like house mice.

Paws


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 May 13 - 01:17 PM

I'd vote for pests in the planting medium.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 06 May 13 - 02:32 PM

Earwigs. vine weevils, OR slugs hiding in the pots/planting medium. They come out at night you know ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 07 May 13 - 06:07 AM

Vine weevils would be my guess too. Small but voracious little buggers. You can get pour-on nematodes that kill them, I believe. Always sift shop-compost to eliminate 'em.

RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: Penny S.
Date: 07 May 13 - 08:03 AM

Only three of them - and by the way, I now know that the green stuff lying around came out of the watering jug. I would have thought that weevils would have migrated to other plants - they're all next to each other.

The compost came out of a new bag, bought this year. It wouldn't sieve though, too clumpy. The pots and trays were also new.

There are no mice or cats. I do see the occasional clothes moth!

One of the French beans has lost an entire leaf - proper one, not a cotyledon!

One of the peas has recovered and put on new un-nibbled leaves, the others still have not put on much growth. I am wondering if the peas themselves (a heritage variety from an organic supplier, a couple of years old) had harboured some sort of tiny thing and had got nibbled before sprouting.

I did find one small beetle on the bathroom floor - east facing, and most insects end up on that side of the building. The spare room is on the west. But why leave the abundant mass of greenery available there?

I shall keep watching.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Gardening mystery help required
From: gnu
Date: 08 May 13 - 06:43 AM

"and don't leave trails like house mice." Apparently you have different field mice than we.


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