This is our second take at growing both brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and so far things are going really well. Both sets of plants are growing beautifully and quickly, and look very healthy. The cauliflower has little orange heads started (we planted cheddar cauliflower, hence the orange colour), and will likely need to be banded in the next week or so. The brussels sprouts are reaching for the sky, and the added support this year is keeping them standing straight and tall. We are excited to enjoy these delicious garden treats.
Unfortunately, someone else has noticed how nice the plants look and are starting to take advantage of them. It must look like a nice home, with plenty of food and water. We have cabbage worms! Last year it was aphids, and this year it is cabbage worms. The good thing is that with some diligence and time spent with our plants, we can keep on top of the worms, whereas the aphids last year were almost impossible to stop once they started.
We first noticed the brussels sprout leaves being nibbled on. Upon inspection, I noticed these vibrant green caterpillars on some of the leaves. They were easy to remove and squash so that they couldn’t move back in or on to some of our other plants. Each day, I go out and inspect the leaves to make sure there are no more riff-raff trying to take up residency in the plants. The first day that I evicted, there were quite a few that I removed. Since then, it is the odd one every few days that I find. Likely there are eggs that I cannot see that are hatching, so I will continue to inspect the plants.
We did find a leaf with a full nursery built. It looked like someone was looking to expand their family and thought that our brussels sprout plant was the perfect location. Luckily we noticed early and were able to get rid of that leaf before the egglings hatched. We are also going to do a little landscaping around the brussels sprout high-rises and add in some thyme plants. Apparently, cabbage worms do not like thyme at all, so we hope it will help stop any new ones from moving in.
With our cauliflower growing right next to the brussels sprouts, we have been keeping a close eye on them and low and behold, we found some unwanted guests in there as well. A lot less, but still a few. We were able to evict them before too much damage was done and have not seen any new squatters since the removal of the first few. With only a few minor holes in some leaves, the cauliflower is continuing to thrive despite the temporary possession.
We did notice the other day that a lovely lady(beetle) was checking out the accommodation in the brussels sprouts. It was nice of her to stop by, but she didn’t seem to find it an ideal place to stay and has since moved on. Although we love the lady beetles, it is a good sign that she is not sticking around as that means that there are no aphids to dine on.
If we find that we are unsuccessful in keeping up with the evictions, there are a few other tricks we have read up on that we may have to test out. Apparently one trick is wetting the leaves and sprinkling them with cornmeal. The worms will apparently eat the cornmeal, which then swells and they die. Another option is to sprinkle rye flower on the plants early in the morning and this will coat the worms and dry them out. For now we will continue to manually remove the squatters and add some delicious thyme to the area. Between the marigolds and the thyme, we will hopefully be able to avoid any further intrusions.