Check for caterpillars regularly from now

If you are growing brassicas, even under netting, we highly recommend checking your plants 3 or 4 times a week… this is the time of year when caterpillars are feasting, and kale, broccoli, cabbage and other brassicas are likely to be their victims!

Which plants to check:

  • Kale – Cavolo Nero, Curly Kale & Red Russian Kale
  • Broccoli – Purple Sprouting & Green Calabrese
  • Cauliflower
  • Romanesco
  • Cabbage – Red Cabbage, White Cabbage, Savoy Cabbage, Spring Greens
  • Turnip & Swede
  • Brussels Sprouts

Where to check:

  • Underside of leaves
  • In the nook between stem and leaf
  • In the cabbage heart
  • On new florets that might be forming

What to look for:

  • Clusters of eggs – these could be pale green, dark green or yellow
  • Individual eggs – these are usually white or yellow
  • Caterpillars
  • Holes in leaves

What to do:

  • Wipe off eggs with kitchen paper
  • Remove caterpillars carefully – pop them in a bucket and redistribute them to another part of the garden.
  • Pop an insect mesh net over brassica plants to prevent butterflies from getting to them to lay their eggs.

When it comes to harvesting:

If you’re worried about caterpillars in your broccoli harvest, or any other brassica harvest, then you can soak the harvested crops in lukewarm water with a splash of white vinegar for a few minutes – any caterpillars will float to the surface. Then you can remove them, rinse your brassicas and cook them as normal!