Caterpillars...

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by PeaceWalkerTruthSeeker, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. PeaceWalkerTruthSeeker

    PeaceWalkerTruthSeeker Junior Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I have, and have always had, a lot of caterpillars that come and eat my brassicas. I used to mono-crop, but now I've been inter-planting. I've got broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, mustard, native wildflower, rhubarb, sweet potato and marigolds. Obviously my garden eco system isn't balanced yet, because I've got an excess of one species (caterpillars) without the predator species (birds) to keep numbers balanced. I will never ever use pesticide, not even 'natural' ones, so that is totally out of the question. I've lost one plant to caterpillars, and they are starting on the others (mainly the cauliflower and brocolli). I know that without using pesticides there is no 'quick fix' for this, but is there anything else I can do? It's somewhat disheartening to see the plants I've raised with love and care, get destroyed. I don't mind the caterpillars having a bit of a nibble, (everyone has to eat) but they end up taking the whole plant!
     
  2. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    Im trying fake butterflies this year,to see how it works. (you can use egg shells
    Apparently cabbage moths want to lay eggs were they give there caterpillars the best chance of growing into an adult cabage moth so if they see a butterfly they look for somewhere else.
    Lots of dill, coriander,angelica,carrot and similar flowers to attract wasps too and a bug hotel.
    Its all trial and error If the caterpillars arent chewing its the grasshoppers around here.
     
  3. PeaceWalkerTruthSeeker

    PeaceWalkerTruthSeeker Junior Member

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    Never heard of the fake butterfly theory...interesting!
    I get the grasshoppers too, but their numbers seem to be balanced right now.
     
  4. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    Did you watch gardening Australia tonight ?

    https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4113792.htm

    I just ordered some seeds

    [h=2]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarea_vulgaris

    so keep the decoys for the cabbage moths
     
  5. PeaceWalkerTruthSeeker

    PeaceWalkerTruthSeeker Junior Member

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    Hmmm, an interesting read, for sure. Not sure where my morality is at this point though. Guess I have to weigh up whether I really need broccoli and cauliflower bad enough.
     
  6. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    in reply to your first post. we've grown cabbage here once, without netting, i wanted to see if they would grow here in our soils and see what would happen with the butterflies/cabbage worms.

    while we did get a harvest, it was a lot of work to keep the worms from eating the cabbage heads, i was picking off eggs/worms each day, just for 10 heads, too much bother to do organically, but if i had used netting that would have kept the butterflies off the plants, without the need to pick off the worms and eggs later.

    so if we ever grow cabbage here again, i'll have to get some netting (1-1.5cm mesh). in the meantime i've been growing turnips, which don't seem to be bothered by the cabbage butterfly or worms, but they do have their own issues, still edible results are just fine, and cutting around intrusions by ants and worms is acceptable.

    i don't want to use sprays of any kind. we have plenty of wild areas around us so if there is a natural balance to the cabbage butterfly there seems to be few of them around. purple martins seem to ignore them.
     
  7. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    I use Fake Moths made from white plastic bags and fishing line , hard to see on photo several strings across bed with lots of fake moths , I also have a moveable creation that looks like a small clothes line with fake moths on it , trick with this is always always more moths the better. Also have a old tennis racket out there ready , a rechargeable vacuum cleaner (car type) also handy to catch them while they feeding on blossoms if you have large numbers to deal with . The fine net would be great I use just bird net to keep birds (of course) but mostly Labradors out of my raised beds found that very few moths ever get in they don't land and crawl through like bees do .
    Good Luck.
     

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  8. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Terra, that's interesting about the fake butterflies. I can see one line with maybe 8-10 "butterflies" How many lines are in that circle? Do they flutter in a breeze? Did they work all season, did you have to move them around?
     
  9. Kit Carson

    Kit Carson New Member

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    When I see caterpillars on my broccoli, I pick them off one by one and fling them out of the garden. Some the roaming chickens will eat, others they will not. If a leaf has many caterpillars on it, I pick off and fling the whole leaf.
     

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