When seedlings are first planted out they are incredibly vulnerable to being attacked. The combination of transplant shock and juicy tender growth makes them irresistible to a host of pests like snails, slugs, earwigs, cutworms and other caterpillars. The good news is these simple seedling guards can be made in a flash!
How to Make Seedling Guards
- empty plastic bottles (clear are best as they allow maximum light to reach the seedling)
- old fly screen mesh or fine gauze (needs to be soft and pliable)
- elastic bands
1. Rinse out the plastic bottle and remove the label.
2. Cut off the top and bottom of the bottle.
3. Cut out a piece of mesh which is at least 3cm wider than the diameter of the bottle.
4. Fold the mesh over one end of the bottle and use an elastic band to hold it in place. Make sure the mesh is properly tucked under the band on all sides so there are no gaps.
5. Push the guard over newly planted seedling and it’s instantly protected! Water in with eco-seaweed to reduce transplant shock and encourage root development.
6. In a week or two you can remove the guard as the seedling has hardened up and pests will be less interested. It will have also grown more leaves and can handle a few bites here or there. Alternatively only remove the mesh from the top and leave the plastic bottle around the base of the seedling to still provide partial protection.