While the Gardener is Away…

While the gardener is away (and/or doing indoor projects while we’ve been inundated with rain)… pests will play!

I normally scout for pests two or three times per week (sometimes more), the downpours, mud, holiday, and a family trip kept me away from my veggies lately. When I stepped into the garden yesterday, I found that my brussels sprouts and kale had been overrun by caterpillars. This is a good reminder of why scouting regularly is important!

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There are many different caterpillars that attack plants in the cabbage family. My plants were full of cross striped cabbageworms, but cabbage loopers, diamond back moths, and imported cabbage worms can also be a problem. Check the undersides of leaves to find the caterpillars and eggs.

If you want to know which pests are eating your veggies, see these links:

eggssmall larvae, cross striped cabbagewormpupae, moths

You can remove the insects by hand, but if you have a large infestation, chemical control may be required. Organic choices include Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and spinosad. Synthetic insecticides include the active ingredients permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, or esfenvalerate. As with all chemicals, please read the label thoroughly before applying.

Source material: http://pender.ces.ncsu.edu/2010/09/controlling-cole-crop-pests/, www.ces.ncsu.edu

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