Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cabbage and Bugs

My cabbage in the potager are suffering from a triple whammy of bugs.
I have eight plants and they look horrible!  The slugs, earwigs and cabbage worms have hit hard and the leaves look like they have been blasted with buck shot.  The green cabbage are the worst offenders.  They are starting to head, but I'm wondering if I should just discard them and chalk it up to a failure for the year.

That being said, there are a few bright spots.  The red cabbage in pool bed #1 look great.  No cabbage worms and the slugs and earwigs have left them alone.  I also have observed that I have a nice colony of predatory wasps.  I constantly see them around the cabbage munching on fat green cabbage worms. 

Spraying is not an option.  I have a huge bird population and there are several nests that surround the area.  Also, with all the predatory bugs that have arrives this year, I don't want to harm them either.  Ditto the earthworms that love this area.

What would you do?
Would you remove them and replace them with something more else or suck it up and see how they turn out?


  1. Well I cover mine so the caterpillars can't get to them, but I still have a lot of slug and earwig damage. If I didn't cover them I'd probably use Bt for the caterpillars. It doesn't harm anything but them. The only issue is if you have a butterfly garden nearby, since they too are caterpillars. If you have something in mind to replace them with, go for it. I'm leaving mine right now that are totally shredded by the earwigs because I don't need the space until July. then everything in the bed will be pulled. I doubt anything will come of the earwig infested ones, but I have hope for a couple of them. And my American cabbage seems to be earwig free. Maybe they don't like it as much.

    1. Thanks for the advice Daphne. In previous years I've only had damage to the outer leaves, never the head. I think the earwigs are the culprits. I've found them in a small head I decontstructed all the way into the center. And they produce a lot of poo.

      This would be a good spot for my zucchini which should be planted very soon.

      Is American cabbage a type or variety? I'm not familiar with this one.

  2. I have found the red cabbages to always be bug and worm free. My red leaf lettuces also seldom have bird or insect damage. I guess we should just grow red gardens. I do scatter thyme clippings around my brassica, which seems to help (too late for yours, and I doubt it would stop the earwigs). I didn't put thyme around my row of dwarf cabbages, and saw a white cabbage moth out there yesterday. Grow, thyme, grow! I need more clippings!

    Covering is an option, but in a potager, that takes away from the aesthetics. I hate the looks of covers, even in my regular old veggie garden. I do use tulle, as it is at least a see-through cover, and I'm trying to use it in areas that aren't right up front and in my face visible.

  3. I have the same problem with my green cabbages - completely ravaged by bugs. Purple look great. I will pull out greens and plant more peppers instead.

    1. The green cabbage are history. When I was pulling them I noticed that a mole had taken up residence in this spot. Doen't surprise me from the amount of earthworms in this area.

      I'm thinking of making a trellis and putting my cucumber seedlings and more pole beans in this spot.

    2. That's too bad. Were those the dwarf cabbages? I'll be picking my first one this week, a Pixie.