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Cabbage whites

Having really big problems this year, netted all my sprouts and caulis, same as last year, for about 10 days every day, they have been alive with catapillers, started removing leaves, then larger catapillers, some plants scoffed completely,, in the end forced to spray, Hubby made proper frame for the netting, he is clever, he used our old rotary airer, the arms as 4 corner posts, already holes in them of course so threaded the wire through, made a nice sturdy cage, then covered with soft small hole netting) but still finding catapillers, at this rate there will be no veg, any thoughts?


  • Had the eggs been laid before the netting was erected? 

    I went over every broccoli leaf, back and front, removing butterfly eggs, before I put the netting up.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • LynLyn Posts: 21,937

    The netting has to be very very fine, like scaffolding netting. Make sure a leaf doesn't touch the net or she will lay eggs through it.

    i didn't get any on mine last year, but won't be growing anything else as the winds just have the cages down how ever much the rods are sunk in the ground.

    as I only need two cabbages a week, it's not worth growing anyway. Different if you have a large family, my veg beds will be flowers next year, for bees and butterflies.


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • I thought I had removed all eggs  Lyn the netting is very fine, bought it last year from |Harrod Horticulture, The net is a couple of feet taller than the veg.  I pulled out and threw away the kale.   Just the 2 of us, but 4 kids, I give veg to.   The sprouts get eaten Christmas, usually a few of us, I freeze a lot of the veg, make tom sauce, jam, chutney with the rest.   Annual leave next week, meant to be fitting new bathroom, but cant find what we need, so probably making jam!

  • I have to say that my brassicas are doing well this year (touch wood), I check them every few days and haven't really had that many caterpillars or eggs the ones that I have found have been squished. I have noticed that the leaves have been nibbled into holes but very rarely do I find the culprits so either it is some other insect or the caterpillars are being predated by wasps and beetles before they do too much damage. I know that there’s another couple of months to go before the cabbage whites disappear so maybe they will do more damage this month than they have so far, I always feel that the caterpillars do the most damage boring into cabbages and I can live with a bit of leaf damage on Brussels and kale as long as the plant survives. 

  • barry island, yes, they are all in MY garden eating my veg leaving yours alone, I didnt have any problem like this last year.

  • I heard something the other day they said that you shouldn't grow nectar plants near to cabbages because it encourages butterflies into the area, I think it was on Beechgrove?

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