Something is eating the leaves of several plants in my vegetable garden. Can you help determine what is causing this and how I can prevent it?

This affects several of my vegetables: Turnips, Lettuce, Spinach, etc.

I live in Los Angeles, CA and this is taking place now (January).

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4

Thanks for your help!

  • Get a flashlight and go out at night to find the culprits. Bartholomew, the author of the square foot gardening method, discusses pests in his book Jan 22, 2016 at 3:50

1 Answer 1


In my experience, this kind of hole is often caused by slugs. Slugs stay hidden during the sunlight period and pop out during wet night and rainy days, making them difficult to spot. Note that it can be caterpillar, thumbtack (not sure of this translation) or even birds. For identifying the "pest", watch for your plants patiently and minutely.

To fight the slugs, you have a lot of options :

  • If there is no big rain planned for next days, spread ashes around your plants - it dries the slugs and fertilizes growing vegetables,
  • Put beer in little bowl (like bottle cap) at ground level -slugs love beer and can die ... from ethylic coma,
  • Don't let any bush develop next to your plants - this their favorite refuge,
  • If you have no other option, buy anti-slug granules.
  • 1
    The use of beer is very well tested, though you may want more than a bottle cap full. A shallow dish or saucer filled with beer is better IMO.
    – Escoce
    Jan 21, 2016 at 16:13

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