Do you have a pest problem in your cabbage bed? There are little critters that also tend to go after other brassica plants as well, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and more. The 1-2″ flying bugs look so innocent. I could not get a photo because they move so fast! They are little white butterflies with some blackish spots on them. There is also a cabbage moth which isn’t quite as cute. So far, I’ve only seen the butterflies.
They lay the eggs on the underside of the leaves. This is typical of many garden pests. The caterpillars are green with little yellow-ish stripes, and they blend in with the stems and leaves of the plants real well.
It is for this reason, they are not easy to detect. I recently read about using a black fluorescent flashlight to find tomato hornworms when it is dark outside. I wonder if that would work for the cabbage “worms” too?
Cabbage Pest Deterrent
Mix 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper with 1/2 Cup of Flour. (You can use any kind of flour. All-purpose is fine. You can also multiply this recipe easily and endlessly!) I stir it up real well with a whisk to get everything incorporated.
Next, sprinkle this mixture on your plants. Try to cover as much of the leaf mass as possible.
You can put the mixture in a shaker bottle or a paper bag with holes cut out. I prefer to simply bring the mixing bowl out and dip my gloved hand into it. Then I dust each plant as evenly as possible. I pick up each leaf and inspect it as I go. The idea is that the flour will expand inside the caterpillars’ digestive systems to the point that it will cause them to rupture.
You can see above that I had a little spice bottle with a shaker top. I quickly abandoned that because it wasn’t coming out as evenly as I wanted. The kale leaves were ready to harvest, so I picked them and then sprinkled the flour mix on the plants.
I just had to add this next picture! Here are the kale plants not even 2 weeks later. They don’t look as though they’ve been preyed upon by any pests, either!
I love this time of year because the garden is so prolific! It is such a blessing to have this abundance right outside of my back door!
Just a side note – The cayenne pepper in this recipe is supposed to discourage bunnies and other pests. When we took our Permaculture class, organic gardening methods were emphasized. We continue to learn new ways to use organic methods with each season. I hope that you have found this information helpful in your own organic gardening endeavors.
What are some non-toxic ways you discourage the pests in your garden? I’d love to know.