Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Hungry Hungry Caterpillars

It is so heartwarming to go outside and see these Small White Butterflies aka Cabbage Butterflies. They fly around, sometimes in pairs. They mate and lay tiny little eggs and cute tiny little green caterpillars come out and eat the leaves of my tiny fall starts of brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, bok choy and collard greens.

They get on bigger plants, too. I don't like getting upset at butterflies, but they are cramping the style of the garden. I am trying to control them by seeking out their eggs and larve and squashing them with my fingers (digitally, as a farmer once described it to me). If they are big enough, they go to the chickens. They are really easy to miss because they are usually on the bottom of the leaf, so you have to turn every leaf. I read that parasitic wasps are a good biological pest control for cabbage butterflies and aphids. You can attract these wasps and other predatory insects by growing plants with lots of tiny flowers like yarrow, fennel, corriander, etc. I have some in other parts of the garden already. I will get some more of those plants going today.

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