Caterpillars galore!

I'm fairly new to gardening, and when we moved into our new house in June I made a huge mistake and planted Kale... and although I tried to keep on top of the caterpillars I lost the battle and pulled the whole lot out. Now the caterpillars that I missed have been chomping their way through all my border plants.... I just don't know what to do.

My question is, will they come back again next year - will there still be the scent of kale in my garden? Help!



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,738

    What border plants are they eating?  It would be unusual for the same type of caterpillars to be eating them. image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • pinny2pinny2 Posts: 13

    There are 3 different types of caterpillars image

    Honeysuckle, hardy geraniums/johnsons blue and some other more established plants that I don't know the name of sorry - I am a real novice!

    Have you experienced a lot of caterpillars this year?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,738

    Only a few on Sweet Rocket plants, which are related to brassicas so I expect the Cabbage Whites to get them every year - I keep my eyes open and pick the little beggars off and squidge them.  They're  the only caterpillars I squidge as I know there are plenty of Cabbage White butterflies about.  Others are becoming scarce.  

    I've not had a problem with caterpillars on hardy geraniums this year but I know some others have this year.  I've never had a problem with caterpillars on honeysuckle and only know of one which eats them and have never heard of them causing real damage.  

    Anyway, the fact you had kale in your garden will have no effect on the attractiveness or otherwise of your border plants to any butterflies and moths so that's not a problem.

    Unless your plants are becoming totally decimated I really wouldn't worry - it's good that you're providing food plants for the caterpillars - we need butterflies and moths to pollinate our fruit,  flowers and vegetables. 


    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • pinny2pinny2 Posts: 13

    Oh good, thanks for that image

    Loving having a garden!

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,256

    They all pupate over winter. Next year they will be moths or butterflies, and your plants will start afresh.  its too late to worry about this year, the plants will be going dormant soon.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • LynLyn Posts: 8,404

    If you grow veg again, make sure it is well netted or you will have brassica massacre again.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • pinny2pinny2 Posts: 13

    I'm never growing veg in the flower border ever again!

  • I had exactly the same problem! My garden is also new (new house, garden full of stones and rubble) and I started enthusiastically growing kale and broccoli in my new veg patch. I was on daily vigil to squash the eggs of the cabbage white, but darn it they won the battle. On returning from holiday there was more caterpillar than kale on the plants! I pulled up the whole lot.

    They aslo decimated my nasturtians and rocket!



  • pinny2pinny2 Posts: 13

    Your garden sounds like mine! Lots of stones/pebbles (we are close to the sea). I tried too, daily squashing, but they got the better of me, the little blighters...

  • Love gardening the plot is a bit of a challenge though, but I am enjoying it very much.

    so much to learn!

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