Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The attack of the Cabbage White Flutterby's

When I see a Cabbage white butterfly in the veg garden a loud groan emits from my mouth.  It's that time of year again, when vigilance is a virtue.

The pesky things have wrecked crops in my garden in previous years to a devastating proportion, but this year I'm already on the case.  Their numbers seem to have increased this year, by a large amount, I don't know if anyone else has experienced this, have they?  Only last weekend I saw twelve in one go around the veg garden.

A few notes on The Cabbage White, for those of you who are lucky not to encounter these wee beasties!

This is what it looks like -


There are two sorts experienced by UK gardeners the Small white and the Large white, extensively feeding on brassica's including swede's and turnips.  The cabbage moth causes even more damage by burrowing into cabbage hearts, whereas the butterflies tend to stay on outer leaves and cause damage like this -


The above plant had an early infestation of caterpillars which Michael spotted, I then took great delight in picking off the offenders and feeding as a treat to the chickens - they love em!  Which is one of the controlling ways you get rid of them.  Inspect your plants regularly for clusters of yellow eggs, if found pick them off and destroy.  If they hatch the caterpillars have a voracious appetite and will strip the leaves in double quick time leaving just the internal leaf stalks.  As you can see from the above picture plants can recover if caught early and will grow new leaves, but it is a battle to keep on top of them.

There is biological control available but I haven't used it, so can't comment on its effectiveness.  You can also cover your brassica plants with fine mesh to stop the butterflies being able to land and lay their eggs.  I tend to stick with the finger and thumb method, my chickens wholeheartedly agree!

Stats today (sorry I forgot yesterday's) -

Sales -
2 dozen eggs

Expenses -
Nil

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