Attack of the Caterpillars!

More variable weather recently, but still sunny and hot most of the time but at least we’ve had rain at times.

Looking at the brassicas recently I noticed more than the odd bit chewed out of leaves but some leaves had been effectively ‘skeletonised’ – and on inspecting closely I could see caterpillars – and lots of them! (see below). So the only solution was to pick them off manually and throw them well away (the toads and frogs will get them) – and I’ve now had several clearance sessions and I’m still finding more. Interestingly they seem to be attacking the brussels sprout plants preferentially, the broccoli less so and the cabbage hardly at all. They also seem to have been moving from plant to plant ‘mob handed’ judging by the fact that on some well chewed plants I couldn’t find a single caterpillar. They are of course ‘cabbage white’ caterpillars, though I haven’t identified the precise species.

Catrepillar attack

Caterpillar attack! 

Apart from that there is an attack of white fly on the brassicas, though not very serious.

Meanwhile, the harvesting goes on, tomatoes ripening by the dozen, lots of runner beans and still some french beans and a few ‘mangetout’ peas.

Ripening tomatoes

Ripening tomatoes – these are outside the greenhouse 

The area previously for broad beans has been weeded and forked over ready for some planting – I have some lettuce seedlings that need to go in as soon as possible. The old lettuce plants have all pretty much gone to seed, but there are still leaves that can be harvested. The last of the first row of carrots have just been harvested (small but tasty) and some of the old mixed salad leaves and rocket have been composted now. Some new rows are up but not yet ready but there are still some of the older rows producing.

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3 responses to “Attack of the Caterpillars!

  1. I have just come across your blog and have been reading your articles with great interest, especially your caterpiller problem you had in August. I know its a bit late now but for next year you could try using a crop protection fleece if used when the plants are young it should help protect them from the dreaded cabbage white butterfly and dramatically reduce damage to your plants.
    If you do get an attack a good product to use is Growing Success bug killer, it uses natural plant oils to kill unwanted pests, and it works. details can be found at this link http://www.ahsdirect.co.uk/product/217/79
    I use both of the above methods in my garden but I also resort to my Dads old method of hand removal of caterpillars if I have a few spare hours and feel in the mood

  2. I have sprout plants also, but grown in tubs as the garden is full of stones and the soil like concrete, and i,m unable to dig it, therer doing well, Well i thought they were, until i looked last time and the leaves now look like lace, and yes catterpillers, found by “little Alan Tichmarch” my 3 year old Grandson, Cameron, who took them off and brought them into the house, (suppose he thought he was helping me) and when i went outside there were quite a few cabbage white butterflies about-the culprits.
    All i wanted to know, is when do the sprouts start forming, they are quite tall, and the stems are thick, or am i doing something wrong, and HOW do i get rid of those caterpillars.

  3. I’ve also been invested with white cabbage caterpillar and this is only my first year at growing veg. Apart from hand-picking and squishing which I’ve spent the morning doing, I’m trying the garlic remedy that I saw on-line today. I’ve literally rubbed the cabbage leaves with cut garlic cloves and have ‘planted’ some between the rows of the cabages and their other seeming favourite, my salad and radish seedlings. We’ll see if it works!

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