First my Beet leaves now my Swiss Chard... help!

Asked September 12, 2020, 2:09 PM EDT

Hello, I left for labor day camping trip and already felt my beet seedlings were growing very slowly. Once I came back it was obvious something was eating my seedlings. Garden gets nearly daily drip line water 30min a day (on 80+ temp weeks) or every other day. My camp trip was only time garden had to go 3 days no water. I have Bush beans nearby (3rd photo)that are uneaten, because at first I thought it was a raccoon. I sprayed a tobasco/ water concentration first night on beet leaves and it did seem to help the next morning, but then garden seedlings got watered from above and I didn't reapply in time and now all that was left has been completely eaten- stem and all (2nd photo) only a handful of beet seedlings remain. Now I'm seeing my swiss chard shows similar signs (1st photo). Chewed stems no leaf drop except for one. My Asian Mustard greens seedlings seem untouched. I'm also trying for lettuce (arctic king) and kale (winter red - both in 3rd photo) and not sure if slow growth is my late timing(I sowed those 9/1) or also a pest eating the biggest ones- I thought worth mentioning. Also I have some broccoli starts that show some leaf eating (2nd photo). Can you please help!? I'm a new vegetable gardener. I added fertilizer to the ground before planting but no pesticides. I have cabbage growing next to both areas. New to critters so really unsure if it's bugs- birds- or animals... I don't see any obvious paw prints but 2 weeks ago saw some that looked more like a cat... no slug slime trails... we do have a raccoon that lives in a tree 70 feet away. I've included pictures. Thank you so much for your help & feedback! Sincerely, Diana

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response


For the chard leaves, it looks like an animal has removed the leaves and eaten. Have you seen evidence of mice or rabbits? You can build a cage with wire mesh to protect new seedlings. Younger plants are more susceptible since the leaves are more tender.

For the second photo, I would reseed the area if you have already seeded it and nothing has emerged.

And you'll likely have slugs coming soon when the rains start. They are easy to control if you search for them and drop them into soapy water. Repeat as needed.

Does this response answer your questions?