WHAT IS EATING MY PLANTS?!!
I wrote the caption in all caps, I think you understand the emotion behind it! I love zucchini in the summer fresh from my garden. In May, I planted seeds for 2 lovely plants. The seeds germinated and put out nice green leaves. Then, one day I noticed they were being eaten by an insect. I suspected slugs. The holes were large and the damage was overnight. I placed wet rolled up newspaper to catch the scoundrels. Early in the morning, I raced to the garden to drown them in soapy water, but only a few sow bugs (roly-polys, in kid language). So I had squished all the roly-polys, I could find.
Round 2: I bought 2 new plants and put them in beautiful loose organic soil. In two days, they were mere skeletons. by the third day, only green sticks remained.
Round 3: Two more zucchini plants were purchased at a premium price and one was planted back in the same spot. The other I held for evidence. My husband set up our camera with time lapse video and we began our vigil. We had to add a battery operated lantern on low light for the camera to be able to take any video. Here you can see the before and after photos. For the video go to the link: https://vimeo.com/45146035
Click on the photos for a full screen view
Because we had to use a small light for filming, the big leaf on the left was not chewed on as much as the leaf on the right. This leaf was not facing the camera and so the unscrupulous ravenous fiends devoured it. The rolled up newspapers were an attempt to trap the low life scum so I could then drown them in soapy water. But, they were not lured into my trap!
Now, that I know what is eating my plants, I have done some research and I am hoping to thwart their dastardly deeds by murdering as many as possible. I have a bag of diatomaceous earth and every afternoon, once the soil is no longer damp, I circle the plants with a ring of the white stuff. Tonight, I am going to dust the plants with it as well. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. "When sprinkled on a bug that has an exoskeleton (such as bed bugs, ants or fleas) it gets caught between their little exoskeleton joints. As they move, the diatomaceous earth acts like razor blades and cuts them up." Taken from http://www.richsoil.com/diatomaceous-earth.jsp
That is the loveliest thing I have heard all week! The DE is working. I still get a few holes in the zuke leaves, but they are not skeletonized like before. Once the new plants get established, they should be able to "outrun" the little demons on their own. Everyone knows zucchini's grow fast!
ANSWER to the question "What is eating my plants?" : Earwigs
For a full screen view of the horrid insects eating my plants, click on the link below.