doodle by andre: it’s an infestation!

NOTHING QUITE AS GROSS (can I use that word–gross–that exasperated my parents during my teen years?) as a worm in a cabbage. Ugh. And then some. Like I said, gross. But they’re just part of the deal, aren’t they–some other creature looking for dinner inside the thing you were looking to eat for dinner.

Starting in spring, I see the smallish white butterflies with smudgy spots on their wings–called cabbage whites, the adult stage of the imported cabbage worm–a signal that the cycle is beginning again. They are often one of the first butterflies to fly here each season.

Growing crucifers under fabric row cover can reduce the opportunities for egg-laying. I then hand-pick worms that did manage to get hatched on any plants–another effective, non-toxic tactic that works if you check your plants daily, and merely have a home-garden-sized plot. Those steps, plus the needs for extra-careful fall cleanup of any cabbage-relative garden debris, is all outlined in this story.

Thanks, Andre Jordan, for the reminder of one small facet of the food chain. Gross–and intricately delightful in its curious way, too.

  1. Kristi says:

    Margaret – What do you use to get rid of worms in cabbage? Or are there some sure fired preventative measures? All of my fall cole crops took a beating this year. I finally gave up picking them out and bought some broccoli at the grocery store. I hate to admit defeat, but…gross!

  2. Kim Hislop says:

    Get a butterfly net…good for eye/hand coordination, exercise, and the extermination of the little white egg-laying machines

    1. margaret says:

      Good idea, Kim. I have some kind of mental block about killing butterflies — but these may be the exception! :)

  3. Dianne says:

    This year I used a row cover and saved myself a LOT of work….checking, picking, spraying. I will do it again in the fall with a larger cabbage crop. Want to try the conical shaped cabbages too, as I hear they make great slaw. Will start out with a lightweight insect row cover and then graduate to the heavy weight for the cold weather. I have it all planned, but it sounds too easy. Hmmm.

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