27 April 2011

Backyard Garden: Cut Worms

I walked out to the garden this morning as I have every morning to check on the progress of my plants.  Much to my surprise, my broccoli, which had big, beautiful leaves yesterday all of a sudden resembled swiss cheese.  What could have possibly munched on my broccoli that quickly?  After a closer inspection I found this.
I thought this guy has got to be full because most of my leaves are gone.  Of course he had help.  I pulled close to 20 worms off of ONE plant.  I felt betrayed.  Such a silly feeling, I know, but things were going along just fine without them! 

I promptly got out my organic gardening book for natural solutions.  One recommendation says to put a saucer of stale beer near the plant.  The smell wards off pests.  They climb up the stalk from the soil so adding a protective barrier around the base of the plant such as a straw or paper tube can keep them from climbing up.  I think I'll be trying both.

Do you have any solutions? 


  1. Well, beer definitely works for slugs. We used this solution last year. It's gross, but it attracts the slugs and they drown.

  2. Rachel MillsApril 27, 2011

    Hazelnut shells. It lasts a long time and is sharp so hard for things like slugs and probably these worms to go over.

  3. AnonymousJuly 02, 2012

    I discovored something like this on my cabbage. But the day before these worms occured my plant looked fully grown but the day after it grew a very tall stem out the middle and looked like a weed and found the plant had the swiss cheese like leaves. Later that day I found the worms. When I bought the cabbage I had a straw in the soil near the stem. Why didn't this work any solutions?

    1. Great question. It sounds like a couple of issues. The first being the issue with a healthy plant turning into what resembles a weed. Since I don't know your location I can only speculate. Cabbage does not do well with heat. In fact if it gets too hot it will bolt, which means it shoots up in order to go to seed. This can happen relatively quickly. If this is the case, your cabbage is done growing and you'll have to wait for cooler weather to try again.

      The other being the issue of your worm problem. Cut worms do come up out of the soil but cabbage loopers are larvae that a moth will lay on the leaves themselves. Protecting the base of the plant will not prevent cabbage loopers.

      There is a solution called BT or Bacillus Thuringiensis that is natural and can be sprayed on your cabbage leaves (on the underside as well) that will eradicate the loopers. Spray your cabbage once and repeat every 3-4 days if the problem persists.

      Let me know if this works.

  4. Hey, i had this same problem i made my own organic pesticide with garlic cloves, onion, chili, crushed in a blender with dish washing liquid a few weeks late i noticed it worked, no more holes ;)


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