first encounter with cabbage worms

Just now, I took my daily walk of the garden. Normally, my walk is very calm. Lots of “yay! another onion sprouted” and “finally! the radishes appear” etc., etc. But today, I did a double take next to the leafy greens bed.

Cabbage Worms 1

What the **** is going on here?!

Yesterday, no holes. Today, the leaves look like swiss cheese. And not just on my red cabbage, but on my broccoli, cauliflower, and even the collard greens!

A bit of Googling “holes in brassica leaves” helped me figure out that perhaps cabbage worms were to blame. Still not sure, I ventured back to the garden with a heavy heart.

And then I spotted these little bastards.

Cabbage Worms 2

I mean, look at this. FIVE worms on the underside of my poor red cabbage.

It was not my finest hour, let me tell you. I said many words that I will not repeat here.

It’s good there were no children around.

Cabbage Worms 4

As promised, I spied both the hatched bright green caterpillars and their yet-to-hatch, bright yellow, oval-shaped eggs. (Which you can barely see if you click on the picture of collards below – the bright yellow spots on the underside of the leaf in the center, near the stem.) I still have yet to spy any white moths fluttering about the garden, though.

Regardless, there were many, many deaths. But it was quick – the swift but sure squish-them-against-the-wooden-side-of-the-garden-bed method.

I’m still hoping that my plants will be able to pull through. But I’m still on the lookout for these little *****.

Cabbage Worms 3


In the end, they ran from me. I think they knew the end was coming.

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5 thoughts on “first encounter with cabbage worms

  1. Dang little bastards! I saw somewhere that a red pepper and garlic combo spray helps naturally repel those worms and some others. I remember that from my days working on The Green Machine :) Goo Luck!

  2. Those things are the bane of my (Brassica) existence! I killed my first cabbage moth yesterday–and I do mean the moth, as I’ve killed many caterpillars. It is hard to kill something more pretty than a caterpillar, but they are so destructive. This year, I am trying row cover–it lets rain and sun through, but blocks insects (and has the nice side effect of stopping birds and squirrels from digging up seedlings). Last year, it helped protect my eggplant seedlings from flea beetles–it is good stuff!

  3. Been there! Last spring I took my broccoli seedlings up to the garden and before I could even transplant them, a cabbage moth had landed on the young plants?!!?? I do a 5 min check every 2 days and squish what I find. You can also (with gloves) handpick and toss in a bucket of soapy/oily water. Or, you can use a lightweight row cover/insect barrier over the plants (suspended on hoops or not) to keep out the moths. Too late this year, but next year. If just draping the cloth, leave enough slack for the plants to grow.. Frustrating!! Good luck! :)

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