I've written a lot about growing tomatoes here in the Northwest. We have to start them early from seed, plant them with protection, grow varieties that ripen early, and then pray for warm weather.
Even then, we get a year like last year: Cold, wet spring + cool, wet summer = lots of green tomatoes with finally a decent amount of ripe ones by the end of September and October (I did get the first ripe one on August 10th, but they were few and far between after that).
And if we're going by this spring, we might be in for a repeat.
Nevertheless, last year I did the same things I always do to get tomatoes here and after a few weeks out in the garden covered with row cloth I peeked inside and saw this:
Looking good, just like the previous three years using my crazy tomato cover.
But this last Saturday, when I peeked inside my tomato cover to see how this year's tomato seedlings were faring, I found this:
Tomato Plant Damage
I thought cutworms, but they usually cut the plant down around ground level (hence the name...) and I searched and searched around the base of the plants and can't find any worms.
Then I thought slugs, but I see only a few tiny trails and they would eat the leaves too, right?
This was not a very happy birthday present, no siree.
So, I'm off to try and find some of the varieties I painstakingly grew from seed. *sniff* But now I'm worried- will whatever ate these attack the new plants? This bed grew broccoli and cauliflower last year (I practice crop rotation to try and ward off these kinds of things...), but I can't find the culprit.
Guess what I discovered decimated my tomatoes?
Slugs. Hundreds of them- I can’t remember when they’ve been this bad. I inadvertently made a trap for them when I stuck the new tomatoes I bought to replace the ones lost in their cardboard tray under the cover over the tomato bed last Friday. I meant to plant them Saturday, but it rained (as in, poured- I’d plant in light drizzle - after all, I’m an Oregonian!). When I went out to plant them on Sunday I was again driven in by heavy rain and HAIL before getting them planted.
So it wasn't until Monday that I finally looked in on them - and found about 50 slugs slumbering in and around the pots on the cardboard plant carrier. Aaacckk! I killed each and every one - plus many more that I went looking for. And you can bet I liberally applied the slug bait after planting!