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
- 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
- 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!