Growing Cabbage the natural way
Cabbage Loopers are probably the most common pest problem for cabbages and their grower.
Part of the moth family, it is similar to a caterpillar in that it's a light green colored worm with white stripes and it gets its name from the way in which it arches itself as it crawls along.
Due to its insatiable eating of leaves it is extremely destructive to the cabbage plant as well as many other things we grow in our gardens such as kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes and beans.
The looper feeds on the central sweet corn shoot from early on and then as time goes by the kernels close to the ear tip become one of its sources of food.
Damage caused by loopers is at its worst in coastal areas where the temperature is reasonably warm. The looper, turns into a brown nocturnal moth when it reaches adulthood.
If you notice butterflies close to your plants you should check them for the presence of worms. Pick any worms you find off the plant and destroy them.
If the infestation has become serious and taking them off the plant by hand is not doing the job, then you need to pay a visit to your local garden centre, buy some BT (bacillus thuringiensis) and use the provided instructions to apply it.
The caterpillar-like worms love feeding on the underside of the leaves so make sure you treat this area as well as the outsides.
There are measures you can take to put a stop to infestation before it starts. In the warmer spring and summer months when egg laying is taking place more regularly, you can shield your plants with loose covers.
Another option to successfully stop worms from making their way into the heads of your cabbages is to place a nylon stocking over the cabbage heads where it should remain until it's time for harvesting your crop.
Aphids are another pest problem as far as cabbages are concerned and as well as loving to feed on cabbages they simply adore other vegetables, shrubs and even trees, such as ash, birch, elm, maple, pine and oak.
Although many plant forms can and do survive attacks from aphids, problems arise when large numbers are present and serious damage usually ensues. This destruction of the plant is caused when the aphid sucks the sugar rich sap from the plant with its needle-like mouth piece.
They are small and more often than not green in color, but there are some other species in black, brown, grey, pink, red and yellow.
The amount of aphids on your plants can be controlled to a degree by frequently spraying sharp jets of water on them or by using an insecticidal soap or pepper spray.
The natural way of putting an end to aphids destroying your plants is to let ladybugs eat the aphids or allow parasitic wasps to deposit one of their eggs in the aphid's body. This egg then hatches and the larva produced eats the aphid, and all that remains is the empty shell.
Marigolds can be used to attract the aphid predators and all we have to do then is protect them and allow them to do their job.