Foil Pesky Cutworms
Before setting out a tomato, pepper, or eggplant seedling, wrap each stem with a 4-inch-square collar of aluminum foil, leaving it loose enough to allow the stem to grow as it expands. Plant the seedlings with 2 inches of foil above the soil and 2 inches below so that cutworms won’t be able to penetrate the shiny armor.
Make Nighttime Warmers
If you wake up to the weatherman’s prediction of an unseasonably cold night, get outdoors as early as possible and flank your vegetable plants with something that will absorb the heat of the sun all day and radiate it at night. That “something” could be large, flat stones or those terra cotta tiles left over from your bathroom renovation. Another solution is to bend wire coat hangers into wickets, secure them over the plants, and drape them with black plastic trash bags for the night.
Safeguard Corn With Mineral Oil
Are corn earworms and black beetles targeting your ripening ears of corn? Protect the ears by squirting mineral oil at the base of the silk, using a medicine dropper. Repeat the process every few days as the plant grows. The right timing is essential: Apply the oil only after the silks have begun to dry and turn brown; if you start earlier, less pollination will occur and the kernels won’t develop properly. What about those pesky birds looking for a fresh meal? Keep them from pecking ripening corn by enclosing the ears in paper bags and tying the bags closed with twine.