What is eating my herbs?
I'm new to this forum and pretty new to gardening, too. I live in NYC and have a small container herb garden, which did very well last year. This year is a different story.
I have two containers outside. One has thyme, basil, and sage. The other has parsley and cilantro. My thyme and sage are thriving and healthy. The basil, however, is a different story. It seems that some creature is stripping off all of the young leaves from the plant. The stalks are not growing any bigger since said creature keeps eating off the top leaves. Same story with the parsley, but not to the same extent. The cilantro has been a disaster. I attempted to plant it from seed at first, but every time a sprout came up, something would get it immediately, within a day. Then, I purchased one in a garden pot and replanted. Same thing.
Adding to the mystery, I notice that the creature seems to get at my herbs more during the day than at night. I'll often leave the house to go to the market for an hour and when I come back, I notice something has got to them.
I suspect a bird or a squirrel, but can't really be sure.
Any thoughts? Remedies?
I've had a fair amount of luck in discouraging squirrels with two methods. The first is to mound pine cones or sweet gum burrs around the plant. I suspect the squirrels find them uncomfortable and the move to something easier to access. The second involves moving a couple of plastic snakes around the garden. Sometimes they are on the ground, sometimes on a branch - the trick is to move them every few days. I have a green snake and a brown snake - both seem to work!