I noted in my garden journal that I spotted the first cabbage moths of the year on May 15th (2015). I’ve been trying to keep my cabbage rows covered, but there’s other stuff growing in the bed that I’ve been harvesting (spinach mainly), and the peas are beginning to grow up the trellises and need to be out from underneath the cloth covering.
Now that my cabbage has been exposed to the moths, I’ve been checking them every day or two, removing the tiny cream colored eggs from underneath the cabbage leaves. You have to be diligent about it, they can be hard to spot. I scrape them off with my fingernail and squish them.
Yesterday I spotted the first of the hatching cabbage worms. They usually aren’t too far from a hole in the cabbage leaf. If they’re small I squish them on site. If they’re bigger I pick them off and feed them to the chickens.
I’ve spent the last 16 weeks nurturing these cabbage plants from seed, there ain’t no way I’m gonna let the insects have ‘em. They’re so close to being ready to harvest!
Picking eggs and caterpillars by hand, leaving no leaf unturned, is time consuming work. I’m kinda thinking it might be time I try using the natural pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Do any of you use it on your cabbage? Does it work well?
Next year I have to remember not to plant tall growing things with the cabbage so that I can keep them under cover through the cabbage moth season. Oregano, lavender, sage, and clover are supposed to be good companion plants to repel cabbage moths. Maybe I’ll pot some of the herbs up to put near next year’s cabbage bed.
How do you combat cabbage moths and worms naturally?