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27.06.2015
Submit Your Project If you have a home interior project and you want it to appear in this web, please do not shillyshally to tell us. When this gardening season started, I never imagined I’d be doing research on identifying cutworms and how to get rid of cutworms.
The first time I found a cutworm in our new garden space, I actually threw it aside and kept raking the beds.
A cutworm is the larvae of a species of moth that is most often found in the top inch or two of soil. I did a lot of research and asked about cutworms in several homesteading and gardening forums I’m in. Having to plant our seedling transplants out in collars or putting up stem protectors was extra work in the garden, but it was worth it. DE kills bees but a circle of crushed eggshells around your plants keep the cutworms from your plants and nourish the soil overwinter as well. Thanks for sharing as I’ve recently noticed some of my flowers just coming out of the ground when tugged on. I thought I had cut worms too, but mine are green and found on the under side of greens there may be 10 to 20 on one plant.
I have gooseberry bushes and each year these geen worms strip the leaves off and destroy the bushes.
Do I need to remove all the grass from around the bush before using the crushed egg shell in the soil?
I set out beer traps for the slugs and have found lots of dead cutworms floating in there this year. Gardening in drought-prone areas is always a challenge, for one obvious reason: Plants, like people, can’t survive without water. But the good news is we can manage to grow a productive dry weather garden with a bit of planning and innovation by taking a few lessons from nature. Sunlight provides the energy plants need for making their food, but it also can scorch their leaves, especially when they don’t have the protection of an envelope of moisture-rich air around them. In desert areas, we find more vegetation between the hills and on the hill slopes than on wide stretches of open desert. When water is premium, it may sound counterintuitive to stuff more plants into a small area. When we see plants all tired and wilted in the dry weather, it’s tempting to give them a good shower of cool water. Drip irrigation is a tried-and-proven method to supply water to the roots with minimum wastage.
If you don’t want to invest in a pressure regulated drip system, leaky hose watering is a feasible alternative.
Amending the soil to increase both water absorption and retention is extremely important in drought-tolerant gardening. Adding some sand and plenty of compost, and thoroughly turning them over, would improve its structure and allow plants to flourish. Rain-fed areas with thick vegetation naturally get a sizeable layer of top soil full of dead and decaying leaves and other organic matter. In other words, it is ideal for gardeners in drought-prone areas to turn to xeriscaping instead of maintaining water-guzzling lawns, a concept that has its roots in the dripping wet English countryside.
Fortunately, a large selection of plants with various textures, colors and structural beauty is available to the modern gardener to create a striking landscape in drought-prone areas.
Perennials – Acanthus, Achillea, Anthemis, Asclepia, Purple coneflower, Globe thistle, Sea holly, Wallflower, Gaillardia, Helichrysum, Lamium, Sea lavender, Lychnis, Catmint, Salvia.
Ornamental Grasses - Pampas grass, Blue wheatgrass, Fescue, Blue oat grass, Holcus, Lyme grass, Pennisetum, Stipa. Shrubs – Artemisia, Bougainvillea, Broom,  Cistus, Euonymus, Halimium, Hebe, Helianthemum, Hippophae, Hypericum, Hyssop, Juniper, Lantana, Lavender, Oleander. It is possible, with a little planning and work, to have a thriving garden, even in areas that are prone to dry weather.
But when I read something about ‘good lard’ (ie homemade), actually being GOOD for you, and ‘bad lard’ (that white brick you can buy on the grocery store shelf) being rather quite bad for you, I decided I needed to investigate this issue further. Turns out that pigs that have been raised right (no hormones, fed the kind of food pigs should eat, etc) produce lard that has a bunch of healthy, essential fats.
That brick of lard you can get at the store has been hydrogenated and filled with chemicals and preservatives to give it a longer shelf life. Once you actually find ‘good’ pig fat, you’ve conquered the most difficult part of rendering lard yourself. When buying fat, ask for pork back fat or leaf lard (which is fat from around the kidneys and is the most pure).


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The only good thing I can think of that came out of our cutworm experience this year was discovering them before we planted any of our seedling transplants out. The most common type of cutworm climbs up the stem of a young plant, wraps around it and cuts it down as it feeds on it. We will never use a toxic pesticide in our gardens so it was important to find natural, organic methods to get rid of cutworms in our garden. So far we have not lost a single plant to a cutworm (but the drought is a whole other story!). One more thing about Diatomaceous Earth, it kills insects with an exoskeleton by drying them out.
Letting the chickens forage in the garden area before planting seemed to help with the cutworm population this year. Then I get them wet one at a time and wrap them around the stem of my plants, at ground level .at an angle works best, so some of the paper is above ground and some below. After all, nature has not left even the high deserts completely barren, and we find a unique array of vegetation surviving even here in the harshest of conditions.
The rate of transpiration – plants losing water through the tiny pores on their leaves – increases in windy conditions. Rocky outcrops offer some protection to the plants from the drying effects of wind and also provide shade. Vertical walls as wind breaks. Surprisingly lush home gardens flourish within solid high walls in many desert countries. We want to avoid the tree roots competing with those of the garden plants and the canopy blocking out too much sunlight.
It’s not only a waste of this precious resource, but can possibly cause some damage to the foliage, too. You can run it below the soil surface or under a thick layer of mulching to reduce water loss through evaporation. Some areas may be rich in minerals, but plants fail to thrive due to the compacted soil that prevents good root run. Although clayey soil retains water for much longer when thoroughly wet, coarse sand is great at letting water seep into the soil quickly. For vegetable gardens, plastic sheet mulch over the soil can conserve water and prevent weed growth. The era of bringing in “exotic » plants from strange lands across the world and nurturing them in artificial conditions is long over. Cacti and succulents may be the first choice, but you need not restrict your creative spirit to these.
And when they need clean water, elite soldiers are choosing the Paratroopers Water Purifier -- the smallest, lightest, and most durable water purifier on earth! To be honest, until last year sometime, the idea of eating lard totally grossed me out, so I can relate.
You’ll especially want leaf lard if you want to use it to make pie crusts and other delicate foods like that. Throw your cubes-o-fat into a crock pot and add about ? cup of water (to keep the fat from burning until it starts to melt).
Next, you want some way of separating the lard from anything else that might be in there with it.  I stuffed a coffee filter into a funnel and placed it on top of a pint-sized jar to drain. Allow your jars of lard to cool on the counter and then keep them either in the fridge or freezer. If you’d like to use the cracklings, stick them back in the crock pot by themselves and allow them to get crispy done. For our larger plant starts, like tomatoes and tomatillos, we used nails for stem protectors.
I still continue to find the little beasts, but they’re becoming fewer and far between. I weeded my garden this morning and didn’t see any cutworms, but if I do, I will be extremely grateful for the information in your post. When we bought this place last year the pastures were all tall, dead grasses that we didn’t get mowed down until this spring. Anywho, just a couple thoughts, I’ve been dealing with cutworms since I started my garden a year ago. Filters such as trellises, split bamboo rolls, plastic wind-break mesh, and hedges of cacti and succulents may not block the wind completely, but are just as effective in offering wind protection as solid walls, if not better. Vertical walls offer some amount of shade to the plants growing between them, especially low-growing ones, such as herbaceous flowering plants and green leafy vegetables.


Drenching the soil thoroughly can definitely make the plants happy, but that would be too extravagant and can cause a weed problem, too. Humus or decayed organic matter absorbs the water like a sponge, besides adding nutrients to the soil and keeping it aerated. Gardeners are increasingly turning to native plants and indigenous cultivation methods to make the best of the natural resources available, including the local climate. It’s so small and lightweight you can easily carry it in your pocket or purse, backpack or glove box.
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Once I lost count of how many cutworms I was finding in the dirt, I realized these little buggers could be problematic and needed to identify them.
Once I started finding the moth pupae instead of the worms, I was pretty excited since I knew our danger zone was passing! Unfortunately the moths love to lay eggs in tall grasses so by not mowing down the pasture in the fall we actually set ourselves up for this horrible cutworm problem. DE is great, but the moment you water or it rains, it turns into a paste, and the little guys don’t seem to mind it at that point. Although they can mar the aesthetics to some extent, growing some attractive climbers over them can remedy that. Planting your garden against a wall or a natural or man-made rock outcrop where they get protection from the afternoon sun is a great idea.
But more importantly, the surrounding air, dense with the water vapor released by all the plants, creates a humid microclimate for the plants. Between you and your four neighbors, chances are that at least one of the five households will experience a break-in… or worse, a home invasion. In fact, it’s got less saturated fat and twice as much monounsaturated fat than butter (this is a good thing, in case you’re wondering). If you don’t have some place like that around you, check farmer’s markets and ask around there to see if you can find any leads (your general local supermarket is going to carry factory farmed meats pumped full of who-knows-what). Essentially, rendering is just melting the fat by slow cooking it and allowing it to separate from any other residue that might be present in the fat itself. My husband is a contractor so we just happen to have a lot of nails around so chose this option.
You can also find the cutworms in the soil by digging down a few inches below the soil level. We’ve seen flocks of birds all around our pasture and yard picking cutworms out of the yard. But if the smell grosses you out, you can put the crock pot outside or in the garage or near an open window. Unfortunately for us we did not try this method since we read that it will also kill bees if it gets on them.
I usually found them when I was raking in a new garden bed or digging a hole to plant a seedling. Not guaranteed, but if you find that two or three of your seedlings in a row have been lopped off, it’s worth digging around toward the next plant in line. This worked great for the broccoli and cabbage seedlings since they were small enough to fit down inside the paper tube. Also, I have read that the adult moths can tend to return to their birthplace to lay their eggs. Ask anyone whose home has ever been robbed what if feels like, and they’ll say it feels like they were violated.
I’ve found the most effective method is sitting the cutworm on a rock and chopping it in half or squishing it with another rock.
It actually can become quite gratifying to squish ’em if you have a big enough problem like we do! I use chopsticks to snag them off the plant (make sure to look under the leaves), then commence justice. Because not only do criminals violate what should be your sanctuary from the world and walk away.



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