What's eating my plants?
May 28, 2011 9:54 PM   Subscribe

Something is eating the plants in my garden. I don't know what it is or how to stop it. Photos inside.

I planted some broad beans a few months ago, and they were doing great. Then a few weeks ago I planted some chard and silverbeet seedlings. The day after planting them I noticed that they had been eaten down to the ground. And then I noticed that all the leaves had been eaten off some of the broad bean plants, seen here. And now my beautiful row of broad beans looks like this.

Does anyone know what it is that might be doing this? I'm in Melbourne, Australia if that helps. Are snail/slugs the most likely culprit? Birds? Insects?

We have had snails in our garden in the past. They've nibbled my lettuces, but nothing so destructive as above. I've tried crushed eggshells to no avail. Although I haven't tried any of the other suggestions in this thread yet. Any other preventative suggestions would be welcomed. I want to eat my homegrown vegetables!
posted by celerity to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
It could be a possum. I had one go through all my potted plants once - the only solution I had was to bring them inside. I caught it red handed one night, completely annoyed that I'd disturbed its feast but it continued munching regardless.
posted by mleigh at 10:06 PM on May 28, 2011

If it's a rodent, try predator urine or similar (example) as a repellant.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:17 PM on May 28, 2011

Rabbits are doing that with my peppers, sunflowers and beans. They are nasty little creatures. They eat the soft, tasty leaves and generally leave the stems.

My husband can dispatch them with his air rifle. Sometimes I will catch them in my live trap and release them in the park.

I hate rabbits.
posted by Ostara at 10:39 PM on May 28, 2011

I have squirrel problems here in the states, which I address by heavily fortifying with chicken wire and deer mesh.
posted by yarly at 11:21 PM on May 28, 2011

Deer do this in my garden. They come around very early in the morning and eat the tender tips of vegetables, roses, etc.
Do you have deer? You might stop it by netting the plants or covering them at night.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:25 AM on May 29, 2011

Seconding rabbits. That's how they left my peas. The predator urine sounds like a good idea but is a waste of money in my experience.
posted by libraryhead at 3:18 AM on May 29, 2011

Response by poster: I hadn't even considered mammals! I doubt there are rabbits or deer running around the inner suburbs of Melbourne, but possums are a possibility.
posted by celerity at 5:50 AM on May 29, 2011

That totally looks like mammal damage. I'm inside the city, near a major boulevard (and a small park) and have seen deer in the backyard.
posted by mediareport at 7:30 AM on May 29, 2011

Rabbits are a possibility even in the inner suburbs if you have any significant area of open land nearby. I've seen rabbits in open areas in the inner city of Canberra.
posted by Logophiliac at 8:13 AM on May 29, 2011

Try some dishwashing liquid in a spraybottle with water. Cover your plants in that. Not many things enjoy eating detergent.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 8:59 AM on May 29, 2011

We use ShakeAway around our garden to keep small mammals away. It's made from fox urine, so they think there's a predator around. I've also heard of people going to groomers and getting their extra dog hair, putting it into pantyhose, and laying it around the garden.

I hear sifting flour onto plants can also be useful if you're still worried about slugs.
posted by quiet coyote at 10:28 AM on May 29, 2011

I know you don't have groundhogs, but that's how some of my plants look after it has come for a visit. Does Melbourne have any large rodent-like mammals? They have to get tall enough to eat the taller leaves. good luck!
posted by evening at 5:06 PM on May 29, 2011

I've used ShakeAway and it works pretty well for skunks and cats but not squirrels. I've started using Ropel. It tastes like ass and lasts about 1-1 1/2 weeks. You can also make your own hot pepper spray, which accomplishes something similar but doesn't last as long. Here's some recipes.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:34 PM on May 29, 2011

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