covered kale

Pests & Pathogens

kale covered kale
My kale is now covered. I bought some galvanized stainless wire and made hoops and then covered them with row cover and secured with plastic pegs. I picked a good batch of it a couple weeks ago (photo below), but ended up composting it because there were too many holes in the leaves for it to be appetizing. Hopefully the cover will help. Of course, it doesn’t get rid of the caterpillars that are already on the leaves. It just prevents the moths from laying more eggs.

On the far side of the covered kale are my baby broccoli plants. These are also being eaten, presumably by the cabbage white caterpillars. I will have to cover these plants too. My next project….

I looked hard, but didn’t find any green caterpillars. Since I have noticed many cabbage white butterflies, I assume this caterpillar is who is eating my brassica. The caterpillar I did find is pictured below. It is tiny and like an inchworm, but I don’t know what type of worm it is.


holey kale

Kale (Brassica oleracea, Acephala Group)

cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae)

6 Comments. Leave new

  • good luck with the row covers… I have used them to keep everything from moths to deer away from my veggies.

  • At least I don’t need to take them off and on every day. I guess the plants get enough light through the cloth. They haven’t even blown off yet after 2 days.

  • There are two pretty good ways to deal with caterpillars, if you end up with them on your plants.

    The first, and the method I use, is to just pick them off with your fingers. This is really no fun, and very disgusting, but it works well.

    The second is to use Bt. Bt is an organic pesticide, specific to caterpillars. It doesn’t bother any other insects, and it’s harmless to humans. It’s really a type of bacteria that attacks the gut of the caterpillars, and since it’s naturally occurring anyway, it’s not a lot different than say introducing ladybugs in order to kill aphids.

    Bt comes in a powder that you sprinkle on your plants. You have to reapply it after it rains.

    You might know Bt because it’s used in GM crops. The concentration in GM crops is probably 100 times higher than what you would use in your garden, and is something that can’t really be compared. Bt itself is not a GM product.

    Anyway, it’s something to consider if you think you need or want to use it.

  • I did finally find one of the little green caterpillars yesterday. But they are very well camouflaged. I will try some Bt under my row covers.

    I bet you do not use row covers in windy Holland.

  • I tried row covers one year!

    I was trying to save some seeds, and I wanted to keep the insects off so they wouldn’t cross pollinate the plants.

    I stapled the edges of the row covers to pieces of lumber, and held it all down with bricks. The covers keep ripping, and I had to sort of staple it closed. It didn’t have anything to do with the covering, but the plants didn’t grow right so it was all for nothing anyway.

    I probably won’t bother to try it again…

  • Aug 27- So far, so good. My row covers still look good and the kale plants seem happy and bug-free underneath. I’ve been too lazy to go out and buy Bt, so I’ll see how it goes without it.


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