Posted by Lisa Mahon almost 8 years ago
We like eating broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbages.
They can be a hard crop to grow organically.
Most of the time if the soil is balanced, is providing enough nutrients
and has good drainage and ample water plants do not tend to get attacked by
pests. However we still get white cabbage moth butterflies in our area even
when we think everything is right.
These lay tiny yellow
eggs, usually on the underside of the leaves which hatch into ravenous green
caterpillars. There are lots of ways of dealing with this. Firstly we make sure
the plants are very healthy so they will be less likely to attract bugs. We
practise mixed plantings and grow a great variety of plants close to the
brassicas to disguise them. Sage has traditionally been used as it has a strong
smell which masks the brassicas. We have found the more variety the merrier so sage
+ tomatoes + lettuce + rocket + parsley + coriander + corn + potatoes + beans
etc works well.
We have also found starting the seed in 4 inch tree seedling
pots in compost in the greenhouse and growing them out until they are large
seedlings gives them a great start. The white cabbage moth doesn’t seem to go
in the greenhouse often. When we plant them out we have to visually check them
when they are little and squash any eggs or caterpillars which have
hatched. Later plantings in Summer are
more successful than Spring plantings.
We also make white plastic butterflies and hang them on
string attached to wire pegs which dangle over the brassicas. These are really
good as the cabbage moth butterfly will not lay eggs there when there is
another butterfly there already. The plastic butterflies are made from ice
cream lids and can be re-used every year.
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