Monday, August 20, 2012

Damage Comes Quick: 3 Observations from the Garden

I’ve been taking lots of photographs of the Lafayette Community Learning Garden, mostly to take cool looking photographs. But other things sometimes show up in photographs.

These photographs illustrate damage to plants. I assume these types of damage are quite common; there’s nothing new or deeply interesting in them. But they’re interesting to me simply because I’ve got a state in this garden and so am interested in what happens there, though I know relatively little about gardening and the relevant biology.

Cabbage Eaten at the Core

This cabbage was fine on the morning of August 17 at 7:42 AM:


Twelve hours later, at 7:42 PM, it was badly damaged:



Notice the graying in the upper right portion of the head and the destruction at the point where the leaves meet the stem. It appears that insects have been eating the plant. I'm told by an experienced gardener that this cabbage is gone.

Two Inside Jobs

This is a small cucumber as it was when I saw it on the ground (I put it on the edge of one of the wooden bed-frames to photograph it):


It appeared to be hollowed out through two holes which must have been bored either by insects or perhaps a small mammal or bird. I cut it open to verify that it had been hollowed out:


What creature did that, and how?

Here’s a pepper with a hole in it:


Here’s what’s inside that pepper:


You can see the hole at the right. There’s some kind of greyish creature inside at the left, below the midline. A cocoon? The white ‘plates’ at the center and above are seeds.

What would have come out of that pepper if I’d left it alone?


  1. I'm no expert, but the damage to the cabbage might be a disease; the pepper looks like an insect might have laid eggs when the pepper was a flower. You may be right about the cucumber being eaten by a small mammal.
    I'd get such things out of the garden as fast as you can clean any tools you used thoroughly. I expect there are sources on the web that can give you more explicit instructions on disposal of the damaged stuff and protection of the remainder.

    1. You may be right about the cabbage, Janet. That's the second cabbage that's happened to, though I didn't know that at the time I posted this note. Another volunteer told me about it. Anyhow, on the advice from Jimmy across the street, who was raised in the rural South, I've cut the cabbage off at its base and removed it, though the roots are still in the ground.

      And you may be right about the pepper as well. Upon closer inspection, that little gray mess appears to be 'empty' and the hole does look like something crawled out. Alas, I forget just where in the garden that particular pepper came from, though only three beds or so are involved.