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If you plant it, they will come

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If you plant it, they will come

Post  gwennifer on 8/16/2011, 12:04 pm

So I bought some broccoli starts with a credit I had from a local nursery and brought them home to transplant into my new fall SFG. That very day, sitting there in their little six pack in the dirt next to my raised bed, look who shows up?



A cabbage moth? Really? How did it know?

Sure enough, my broccoli is getting all eaten up. But from what I've read, it's the caterpillars that do the eating, not the moths. So why can't I find any eggs or caterpillars on my plants? Any advice?
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  Icemaiden on 8/16/2011, 12:58 pm

Could it be slugs in the night?

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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  littlesapphire on 8/16/2011, 1:10 pm

I'd guess slugs, too. Also, believe it or not, roly poly bugs (aka pill bugs) have a tendency to eat things in the garden too.
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/16/2011, 1:23 pm

Cabbage worms are also really tiny when new. They get down into the crook where the leaf branches off from the stem. They can be really hard to find. I suffered a little damage this spring and only found a total of three of the caterpillars. I know there had to be more.
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  boffer on 8/16/2011, 1:53 pm

I have the moths and damage too, but have never seen the caterpillars. Some folks cover their brassicas with netting. I made a butterfly net last weekend and have caught several moths. Truth is, I kept looking over my shoulder the whole time to see if the guys in white were after me!
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  gwennifer on 8/16/2011, 4:55 pm

Thanks everyone! I was thinking I'd be able to see slug trails if they'd climbed up the sides of my vinyl box. I don't think they are in there.... yet. (This is the PNW, it's only a matter of time!)

I've seen lot of flys in the Mel's Mix. I figure they like the animal composts I've got in there. But I haven't spotted a roly poly bug yet.

Good to know the caterpillars are hard to find. Thanks for the tip of where to spot them BBG! It's got to be those cabbage moths laying eggs - I see one or two out there every time I look and the damage looks exactly like what's described when I looked it up.

So Boffer, once you catch them with the net... ? I wouldn't have the guts to squish it. *shudder*. I know I could cover the plants, but I figure I need to get them bug free first.
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Found some caterpillars... and also aphids

Post  gwennifer on 8/17/2011, 2:59 am

I went out caterpillar hunting again and I don't know if it was the time of day (about an hour before sunset), but this time when I flipped the leaves over, I found some of the little guys. They are tiny, tiny little things, and just about the same green color as the leaves. If they went down to hide where the leaf comes off the stem I'd never be able to spot them. Seriously only about the size of a grain of rice, only not as thick. Found maybe eight of them altogether, and some little green pods that I thought were aphid eggs. Squished the pods, and fed the 'pillars to my neighbor kids' pet praying mantis. Very Happy

When I was poking around, I found that the very center of the plants, where the new leaves are growing and it's hard to get in and see, were filled up with aphids. Do I need to do something about that?
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  HouseofWool on 8/17/2011, 7:26 am

I had a problem with cabbage worms this spring. The eggs were down in the crooks of the leaves and the florets. I sprayed the heck out of it with BT and it worked like a charm.

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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  littlesapphire on 8/17/2011, 8:07 am

I know insecticidal soaps work especially well on soft bodied bugs like aphids, so you might try spraying one down into the cabbage.
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  Furbalsmom on 8/17/2011, 8:45 am

Gwennifer

Those cabbage worms are masters of diguise. The eggs are teeny tiny green dots and the worms seem to be the exact same shade of green as the plant they are on, which makes them hard to see until they get bigger.
Once the cabbage worms are there, I use BT (Bacillus Thuren.......something or other) It really is effective and organic too. Use it every other week and it is safe to use up until the day before harvest.
I prevent cabbage worms by setting tulle (bridal veil) over the hoops on my SFG that has plants that do not need pollenating, like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce etc. This keeps the cabbage butterfly (moth) from laying eggs.

Aphids respond well to a jet of water to wash them off the plants, then follow up with a spray of soapy water, or insecticidal soap. I used 1/2 tsp of dish soap in a quart spray bottle, then filled the bottle the rest of the way with tap water. Worked great last year. I haven't had aphid problems this year.
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Trap plan

Post  WardinWake on 8/17/2011, 7:50 pm

Howdy Folks:

I have been reading on organic controls of the cabbage worm and one writer suggested using a mix of corn meal and salt and place in a shallow bowl and putting it under an infected plant. The idea was the worms will come to the corn meal and the salt will kill them. If anyone tries this let us know it it works.

God Bless, Ward and Mary
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Ugh - Broccoli is hard!

Post  gwennifer on 9/1/2011, 3:28 am

Okay, thanks everyone for your replies. I really like broccoli and am trying to learn to grow the things that I eat. I sprayed them like crazy with BT, and the leaf munching is under control for now (the moths are still prevalent, so I"ll have to keep on top of that). Then I spotted weird curled edges on some of the leafs. When I uncurled them, this is what I found:



Yuck! What are they? I've done an internet search for "Broccoli Pests" and haven't figured it out. I tried an insectisidal soap on them a couple of days ago, and they still look the same today.

And I've been afraid that this is the ultimate stupid question, but if I do the tulle to keep the bugs off, how do I water?
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  Chopper on 9/1/2011, 5:36 am

They look like aphids to me. Wipe off, spray off and glare at them.

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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  boffer on 9/1/2011, 10:16 am

+1 for aphids. Hose them off. Then look for different alchohol/soapy water recipes to spray on. (I don't spray, so can't recommend one.)
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/1/2011, 10:34 am

When I find a curled leaf, it usually contains a green caterpillar. So far, though, it looks like you have only aphids.
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  Furbalsmom on 9/1/2011, 10:54 am

@Gwennifer wrote:And I've been afraid that this is the ultimate stupid question, but if I do the tulle to keep the bugs off, how do I water?



The water goes right through the tulle if you are using a hose or wand. If you are hand watering, just lift the edge of the tulle then replace it when you are done.

My tulle is over my hoops and I tie the corners with velcro tape. That seems to be enought to keep the tulle in place. It also makes it easy for me to untie, lift the tulle to the top of the hoops, then water.
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

Post  AprilakaCCIL on 9/1/2011, 10:59 am

affraid Come on!!! Now I head back out to the garden to make sure I don't have any of those on my broccoli.

No I hope not! No

Just inspected the corn and gezzzz --saw corn ear worms pale creepy ugly caterpillar thingies in my corn. Shocked
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Re: If you plant it, they will come

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