Two plants in my garden are getting hammered by something.
I can venture a guess that deer are responsible for eating every single clover leaf as it is nearing maturity leaving untouched stems as well as the few flowers that have had a chance to develop. Of the potential wildlife culprits, turkey are ruled out as we have only ever seen 1 on the farm in 20 years of owning the land. I do not know enough about fox behavior to rule them out. Rabbits are a prime suspect but I feel the distance from the farm to the nearest brushy area is too far for rabbits to feel safe in traversing that distance. Leaving stems uneaten puts deer and groundhogs at the top of the list. I have scoured for tracks and found none!
I must not procrastinate on fencing the garden any longer, which I will do this week and write a handful of posts regarding its design.
The pest eating the hops is a bit tricker as they are likely bugs as the hops are elevated up a small string of hemp twine beyond the reach of any animals, even skilled climbers. A few vines are completely defoliated at the end of the leaf petiole. If my ruined grape plants are any indicator, japanese beetles tend to skeletonize leaves rather than consume them entirely. Most of the documented pests like slugs or beetles still leave holes in leaves, not entirely defoliate the plants. Maybe some sort of caterpillar? I counted over 20 different species of butterflies in the garden this morning.
So with the hops, I am not entirely sure. However I have networked with monthly informal meetings of local growers and will ask around!