Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Protecting Tomato Transplants from Cutworms

A cutworm (or some other critter) killed one of my precious tomato transplants that I grew from seed. 
RIP San Marzano. Luckily the internet is a vast source of wonderful ideas. It seems that a plastic barrier will keep the worms (and other creepy crawlers) away from the plants. Of course! So simple and easy, provided you have a small backyard garden and not hundreds of plants. 

My seeds were started in newspaper pots, 
then transplanted to plastic cups, so I already had the cups.
I cut the bottoms off of the cups to make the rims that would stand guard to protect my tender transplants. It seemed to work best if there were two cups stacked together because they were more stable and less likely to crack.

I realized after I cut these and took these pictures that more needed to be cut from the bottom of the cups or the rims would be taller than the plants. For shorter plants, make shorter rims so the plants get sunshine.

I carefully dug a small trench around the plant with my finger to make it easier to push the rim into the ground.
Then I gently packed the soil around the outer edge of the rim so the bugs couldn't crawl through any small gaps.
The cups were already labeled so that worked out just great. 
The plastic rim also keeps the mulch away from the stems which is recommended.

...and they all lived happily ever after.


  1. Love this! I heard about about using yogurt tubs or sour cream containers, but there's no way we consume enough for all of my new tomato plants. The red cups are perfect! Plus now, I'll know how to cut them. I've cut (destroyed) them in the past with scissors and they split wide open. You are a genius!

    1. To be honest, they still split sometimes....For me it works best with a long blade, and cut the cup with the downward stroke. Good luck!

    2. What I mean is avoid a sawing motion. Instead try to cut it straight down like you would cut butter. Hope this helps:)