Empty toilet paper rolls from several states have made their way into our garden over the past few weeks.
We don't know if it is going to work but this is the best non-chemical solution to cutworms that the Extension Office was able to give us. Last year we watched rather helplessly as cutworms took down about twenty percent of our broccoli crop in the first few weeks it was in the ground.
After sending several pictures of the damage to the Extension Office the cutworm diagnosis was confirmed.
We had cutworm problems the first year we had a garden. Neighbors suggested putting tin cans around our seedlings. For two years we kept a large pile of tin cans with both ends cut out for that purpose. That was a relatively easy solution when I only had to keep about a hundred cans piled up for use around tomato transplants. It became a little more difficult when the number of cans we needed grew to several thousand. We also had a problem with the bottom half of the cans rusting and falling apart over the course of the summer making it difficult to make sure we got all of the rusted metal out of the garden.
So this year, as crazy as it sounds, we are using toilet paper rolls that we cut in half and slide over the seedlings into the ground at the depth of half an inch. If it works we'll be putting the call out for more toilet paper rolls for next year. And just to alleviate any concerns that have been previously voiced, we don't keep track of and judge the amount of toilet paper anyone goes through or how much paper they leave on the end of the roll. We also appreciate anyone like my mother-in-law who takes the empty rolls home with her from church and the little airport she frequents.