Thursday, 16 June 2011

Growing your own Veg - Cabbage and Kale pests

Back in March I planted my Kale seeds and after a few weeks they were coming along lovely so I thinned them out and separated them into individual pots to encourage a stronger & healthier root growth. You can read the post here.

Well look at them now! Lovely big strong plants. The little plant to the left is also Kale and from the same batch as the one in the blue pot. This just demonstrates the importance of potting out your plants...The bigger the pot, the bigger the plant. 

Anyway as I was admiring my lovely plant I spotted a pretty white cabbage butterfly dancing merrily around my Kale. Such a dainty sight but with evil intentions as this pretty butterfly wants to lay her eggs on my kale and cabbages.Bear in mind it isn't just cabbage & Kale they are drawn to, but all types of brassica including cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, swede and turnips.

"Whats wrong with that?" I hear you ask.
Well, this is what is wrong with that...Someone has been having a munch and I don't want to share my kale with pests.

Closer inspection of underneath the leaves reveal eggs which probably mean there are larvae. The eggs are usually yellow but look just like these in clusters. These particular eggs are probably Greenfly and we do not want those our our veggies either.

I continue turning leaves until I find the culprits and the reason why I don't like those pretty butterflies laying their eggs on my plants. As you can see I have caught them in the act munching my lovely Kale and they will continue to do this as the grow into caterpillars, eventually stripping the whole plant.

You can spray your plants with a chemical to eradicate them but as I am an organic gardener I just 'squish em' with my fingers a bit time consuming if you have a lot of plants but it is part and parcel of growing cabbages and kale.

When I have planted the Kale's into my raised beds that Papa and I having been getting ready, I will cover them with a fine netting to stop the white butterflies laying more eggs. The net shouldn't be draped over but held away from the plants with a frame. This will also stop pigeons destroying your crop.

I decided to give my cabbages the once over but they were fine. No signs of larvae or caterpillars although something has definitely been munching...Probably a slug so I will crush up some egg shells and cover the base of the plant and see if that helps. If that doesn't work then I will lay a beer trap.

Please Pop over to The Shed and Beyond for a tutorial on building a Bug House for attracting bugs to the garden that will act as an organic pest control for your veggies. A Very informative blog with some great tutorials and advice. There is even a rough guide to making your own wine! Bug House Tutorial here


  1. Good advice, we've grown broccoli and similar before, and we've not done too badly with cabbage whites, we did get some one year, which we left so the kids could see what they did, that won't be happening again.
    We have loads of stuff in the garden that may fall victim to the whites, but so far nothing has touched them, they haven't even been hit by slugs and snails, although I suspect this is down to the frogs, hedgehogs and the thrushes, but I do have a home made frame that I plan to use to cover them with netting.
    My biggest concern is our allotment, we have some small broccoli plants and (fingers crossed) cabbage, turnips and other stuff, ours is half a plot and the bit next door has already been hit by caterpillars, I netted ours before they got munched.
    Great blog, with some very sound advice for gardeners :-)

  2. Thankyou Technomole, I think as long as you have netted them they should be fine. There is probably a natural spray that could be made up...I'll have to do some research.

    I've popped over to your blog and left you a comment there too...Love your bug house...Fab!

  3. Bloomin slugs, that's my problem.
    I've started harvesting some green cabbages & turnips but still have red cabbage to come (they definitely get less pest problems.)

    My purple sprouting all but two got munched completely so I have now cheated & bought a tray to plant this weekend.

  4. Hi the Bird,

    Thanks for the red cabbage tip...Ive never grown that before so will give it a go next year for sure.

    I was really lucky with my purple sprouting last season...I barely had to touch it and I had mountains of lovely brocoli from it...Worth the long wait x

  5. Hi Mama Syder! Your vegies are coming along nicely! (Love your new banner. Is that you? Very cute and very retro!)

    Thanks for the get well wishes. I think I'm on the mend, hopefully. Still coughing like a 200 per day smoker! LOL

    Anne xx

  6. Hi Anne, I'm glad you are on the mend, hope your cough clears up soon.

    Glad you like the new banner...yes its me back in 1971...Finally decided to keep this header as Ive messed about with the layout a lot over the past month, Lots of Love x

  7. I'm SO jealous of your green fingers :( x



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