Cabbage Worms

What a difference a week makes.  It was a rainy cool start to the week, 40 degrees cooler than last week!  We discovered some very uninvited guests in the garden making a mess on our lettuce: cabbage worms.  These little guys are typically found on kale, cabbage and broccoli (of which we did have over a dozen on our broccoli plants), but we've never had them on lettuce in the past and boy did they make a mess!

How to spot them.  First, look for some rather large holes on your leaves and bites taken out the sides.  Then if you notice dark green "blobs" strewn about the leaves (the cabbage worm droppings), you might want to start looking for a light green worm, about an inch in length (hiding on the underside of leaves or curled up in the middle of your head lettuce!  You can see in the picture the mess these little things make.  We ended up pulling two of our beautiful Jericho Romaine head lettuces up.

How do we combat them?  One, if you spot the cabbage white butterfly flying around you can try and chase them, catch them and discard them.  We weren't able to do this or get a picture to show you what they look like (google images works wonders) because they are quite dodgy characters.  Next step you could try would be to spot the eggs they lay on the underside of leaves.  Usually they are small, oval in shape and yellowish-orange in color and found in clusters.  See the picture we have of a cluster of them on our Kale leaf. 

If you are like us and really don't have the time to check each individual leaf for the eggs, the next steps  to take are to check everyday for the signs of cabbage worms that we described.  Once spotted, start the plant search for the worms and squish them, check the entire plant and surrounding plants (we've been finding 2-5 per plant).  We also sprayed all the kale, lettuce and broccoli with a neem oil diluted solution.  We will continue to do this for the next few weeks.

Other than the cabbage worm hunting, it's been business as usual in the garden.  The weeds have gotten the upperhand on garden crew member Jerry and the rainy start to the week was none too helpful in letting him tackle them at normal garden pace.  However, being the creative master-mind Jerry is, he cosntructed a little tent that kept him somewhat dry during the heavy downpours.

Some othe news worth mentioning.  If you live in our area and watch the local news you may have caught the devestating news about the local Green Mountain Compost potentialy being contaminated with herbicides and any gardener/farmer that bought bulk compost april-end of may would have had the potentialy contaminated compost!  We are very very very fortunate to say that we did not put any bulk Green Mountain Compost on the garden this summer (we would have, but they were all sold out when we were going to go pick up a truck load.  How lucky did we get!!!)  Here's a link to the story on it: http://www.wcax.com/story/18909250/vt-investigates-contaminated-compost-thats-ruining-gardens  We definitely feel for the gardeners and farmers that have to deal with this situation, such a devestating blow to so much hard work.

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