Monday, April 14, 2014

Chilli Plants and The Unknown Culprit!

Last weekend my sisters and I went to Sg. Buloh nurseries to look for some plants. I came back home with three colours of gerberas, which I shall be sharing on another day, and two chilli plants. The chilli plants were really cheap, RM10 for 3 medium to large sized plants! Could not help buying those even though I have some seedlings growing in my garden pots.  Gave one to my sis and took home the other 2. Did not buy any other plants as could not find what we were looking for.

I transferred the two chilli plants to bigger pots and placed them in my front porch garden. A few days later, I noticed some leaves on the soil. I thought it strange, as the leaves are not being bitten and they just seem to dropped off in perfect piece. At first I thought it was the rain, as it has been raining quite heavily these past week. 


Plant A
On the next morning, to my horror, I found that some of the stems of both plants are missing! Look at the photo above, it looks like the stems are being snapped off or bitten off!


Plant A
See those stems on the soil. The weird thing is, neither the leaves nor the stems are being eaten, look at the perfect condition of those leaves!


Plant A
And notice the corner of the pot, where there is a little hole, looks like something stood in that corner while busy bitting off the stems, and thus the stems dropped off to the other side of the pot!


Plant B
This is the second chilli plant. 


Plant B
Notice the same pattern. The broken stems are on one side of the container.

I have to do something to protect whatever are left of the chilli plants, before the rest of the remaining stems are all gone! It was raining very heavily that evening and did not have time to get some wires to do a proper cage, so here's what I did at 9.00pm that night, as soon as the rain stops.


Plant A
LOL!!! I know you must be laughing, I certainly laughed at myself when I took these photos! I used old rice plastic bags, some strings, staples and a couple of sticks to hold the plastic in place. Do you think this would work? Keeping my fingers crossed.


Plant B
Now you really must be laughing! I was laughing too when I took this photo and my neighbours must think I'm a crazy woman, laughing to herself, taking photos in the garden late at night (with flash on!) just after a heavy downpour! I have used a metal stool as I could not find anymore sticks to support the plastic bag. A smart idea too, I might add!  Hehe!

Well, it worked. The next two mornings, found my plants safe and sound. Seems that my method worked! I took the stool off Plant B on the second morning to allow the chilli plant to enjoy some sun, and I have forgotten to place it back that night.


Plant B
This was what I found this morning! All the remaining stems from the plant, are now on the soil, just as I've feared would happen if I did not protect the plants! My chilli plant is now bald! I placed back the stool over the plant this evening, as there are other young stems growing.


Plant A is safe!


Very weird and strange. Which creature did this? My guess is either a rat or a squirrel, though my guess is, the culprit is a rat. My hubby has caught a couple of rats these last few months, as we have seen them scurrying around the drains outside. And I have seen a couple of squirrels in my neighbour's mango tree a few months ago. Could either one of them is the culprit? Strange thing is, whatever did this, did not eat the leaves, but merely snapped off the stems, and it came back a few nights to do it's naughtly job! Have this happened to any of your plants before? Any ideas? 

I guess the only way to find out is to set a trap! And hubby is setting the trap as I'm writing this post. Hopefully the culprit will be caught, better sooner, as I have other chilli seedlings growing, and it seems to favour chilli plants over the rest. 


Happy Gardening!




13 comments:

  1. Oh my word, Joyce, I am hysterical and would be rolling on the ground if I knew I would be able to get back up!!! This story is the funniest thing ever! I can't imagine why a "varmint" would go through all of that NOT to at least eat the plant! It just doesn't make sense. Is it that he/she thinks it yummy and when he/she tastes it, doesn't. He/She would have to think they were all different plants then, lol...So funny but so upsetting too. Last year the rabbit ate every single one of my carnation plants. I like the rabbit and I'm not too angry but, Carnations are my very best favorite flower! He's in trouble if he eats them again.

    I can't imagine what may be doing that Jyce but I guess a trap is the only way to find out. Your construction to save your plants may seem funny, okay hysterical, but it sure is working which is all that matters. If I was your neighbor and saw you snapping pictures I would assume you were just another crazy blogger, lol...Can't wait to hear what happens:)

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  2. Joyce, I had to suppress my laughter because I am in the office right now! This weekend I am going to come back here for a good rolling on the floor laugh hah..hah...hah....I think it must be a rat. A very cheeky one at that. I have squirrels in my garden but I have not experienced any of my plants being bitten off. So this naughty fellow only vandalises your chilli plants? I am very eager to find out what the culprit is! And by the way, I have learnt a clever trick to protect my plants, if God forbid, anything like this happens :)

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    1. Hi Joyce! I came back here this morning for a good chuckle hah! hah! hah! Can I ask for some advice? I have made a few attempts to plant chillies and they did grow and flower. My problem is that either the flower buds drop off or the flowers drop off without bearing fruits. And I notice some sort of pest that is white and powdery will infest and they are often seen with small ants. So how do you maintain your chilli plants and what fertilizer do you use?

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    2. Hi Phong Hong,
      Glad that I've made your morning a little "fun"!!! :)
      I do not have much luck with chilli plants either. Just like yours, it would flower and they would dropped off, or maybe with one round of fruiting, then the plant will wilt. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the ones I bought would somehow grow healthily. And there are a few seedlings which I grew from seeds, really have no idea which chilli I grew, as I sowed some chili padi and small peppers and got mixed up now! haha!
      For the white powdery mildew, refer to this website, I have not tried using those methods before, as have not spotted any white powdery mildew on any of my plants lately.
      http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/controlling-or-eliminating-powdery-mildew/
      And I always use organic fertilizer.
      Good luck with your chilli plant.

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    3. Hi Joyce! Thanks for your reply! I will try again and will check out that website :)

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  3. Oh... what happened with your chillies. It's look like a cut worm or mouse attack. I have ever found this problem on my cauliflower plants.
    A nice blog. Happy gardening
    Endah

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  4. Oh dear! I think it's mouse. I have experience where my young seedling munch by them! Anyway nice solution to protect your plant!

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  5. This happens to my young seedlings but in my case, the culprits are birds, lots of them!

    So, did you sow any arugula? I did!

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    1. Hi Emily,
      I do not have birds in my garden.
      And yes, I did sow the arugula seeds, the very day in fact. They have all germinate with small seedlings. Really impatient for them to grow until harvest day! haha!

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  6. Lol.. hilarious!! I'm really curious to know what's been attacking your chili plant! Can't wait to read your next post ;)

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  7. I'm glad I found your blog. Now I know another use for the rice bag - and another frugal way to protect my container plants. Really, really curious to know whether the culprit is caught...

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  8. Your 'antics' provided me with big grins. Its really hilarious :) Strangely the same thing happen to my Ribena plant which I bought from Sg Buloh a fortnight ago. Many sections were bitten through except that Im not as ingenous as you in solving the problem. Fortunately, I managed to collect some ripe fruits for sowing.

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  9. I have several plants facing the same. We still need to find out what it is. Both Veggies and fruits plants are affected. Some really small plants are even taken out from ground. Lost 15 plants till now.

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