broccoli and butterflies

Pests & Pathogens

broccoli seedlings cabbage white butterfly
I transplanted my young broccoli seedlings from their seed tray to the garden this weekend. I gave them a space between a row of dill and one of kale. I spaced them about 5 inches apart. They seem pretty happy. I noticed that the fall crop of broccoli at a nearby farm is only a little bigger than mine now.

I’ve been enjoying several small white butterflies that bounce and flutter and play over my garden in the mornings. This pretty white butterfly is called a Cabbage White (Pieris rapae). It is one of the most common butterflies in North America. The photo shows one sipping nectar from one of my cucumber flowers. A little research showed me that this lovely insect has caterpillars that enjoy eating kale and broccoli. Ah-ha! So that’s where the holes in the leaves have been coming from. The solution seems to be row covers. A little leaf damage doesn’t affect my broccoli florets, but now I know that if I want un-holey kale I should consider row covers.

Kale (Brassica oleracea, Acephala Group)

cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae)

butterflies (Lepidoptera)

4 Comments. Leave new

  • Those naughty little butterfies left caterpillars on my broccoli seedlings this year. They are so well camaflouged that I barely even see them once they’d eaten ALL the leaves off! Now I run my fingers over the stems to see which stems are actually soft bodied catapillars. My new broccoli seedlings have row covers on now!

  • OK. I guess I’ll have to figure out what row covers are. It gives me the willies just thinking about running my fingers over soft bodies caterpillars. Aarrgh. Also, my kale has too many holes in it for me to find it appetizing.

    Thanks for the note Sarah. And I love your blog!

  • Thanks! Your blog gave me the inspiration for me to start my own, although I don’t update it nearly as often as I would like (too busy reading other blogs!).

  • I have the opposite problem. I update mine and then don’t have time to read other blogs I’d like to keep up with. Oh well…


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