Are The Cut Worms Italian?


A new wrinkle in my new vegetable garden: cut worms.  The hardest thing to keep alive to maturity by far so far: basil. 

I don't bother starting basil from seed until shortly before the last frost, when I'll throw a handful of seeds onto a pot of soil and stick it onto a windowsill.  My basement fluorescent light set-up is completely given over to tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, and peppers.

Next year, I may have to rethink, so I can set sturdy nibble-proof basil plants into the garden.  Because, like the cut worms, I consider basil one of the basic food groups.


  1. Cut worms almost destroyed all the capsicums at my Mum’s market garden this year. Try wrapping a ring of aluminum foil around your plants; it worked for her.

  2. I had my very first cut worm this year and it took out a potato plant. Sad indeed. But basil starts are pretty inexpensive and there’s great variety available in my area. In fact, I have 3 different starts of different varieties waiting to find a home in my garden at this very moment in addition to the many that I’m growing from seed.

  3. I fought cutworms for years until I learned that the adult moths lay their eggs in the soil. Now I cover all my beds with several inches of mulch (I use straw) from the moment they’re harvested. The moths can’t seem to find the dirt under all that insulation, and I haven’t lost a seedling to a cutworm since.

    I’d be curious to know if anyone else has tried this, and did it work? Or have I just been lucky?

  4. If you’re into pesticide, Slug Getta Plus kills cutworms.

    If you prefer organic, someone on here recommended using the paperboard tube that comes in toilet paper. Save them, cut them in 1/2 or 1/3s and put them around the seedlings. I’m trying this on my bean seedlings.

  5. Haven’t had much trouble with cutworms but like Leslie, my beds are all covered with mulch. I use chopped leaves…

  6. The garden looks great! can’t figure out where the entrance is–please post some more pictures, from different perspectives. For herbs like basil, I have wonderful, trouble-free production in my three elevated 4x8ft. Planter boxes. A guaranteed crop. For, like you, I feel basil is vital for the Summer experience!

  7. Leslie, when fall comes, I will mulch this garden heavily with leaves and grass clippings–I’m a big no-till, no-fertilize, no-fuss person. And mulch does many jobs for me. Good to know that it even keeps down cut worms!

  8. While on internship at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens in Ontario, we placed a news paper around veggie plugs. The newspaper extended about 1-2″ about the soil and worked very well.

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