We’ve spotted one or two cabbage white butterflies flitting around outside already this spring. They look charming but they are not the best friends for your brassicas. Here are some top tips to dealing with them.
- Make sure your brassicas are well netted so that it’s virtually impossible for the butterfly to land on broccoli and cabbage plants (they can easily smell them a mile off!)
- Check the stems and undersides of leaves on brassica plants every couple of days. You’re looking for little clusters of tiny yellow/white eggs. If you see them, wipe them off.
- If you see any sign of caterpillar damage, check the affected plant as there is likely to be a little gathering of newly hatched caterpillars preparing for a feast. Pick them off and move them to another part of the garden.
- It’s well worth planting some sacrificial nasturtiums nearby – the butterflies will lay their eggs their leaving your brassicas relatively untouched.
- Finally, if your netting isn’t doing the trick, or if you want a little extra protection, you can spray the leaves of brassica plants with a homemade garlic spray to deter the butterflies. Simply chop up raw garlic and infuse with water for a day or two.