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Old June 29, 2019   #1
greenthumbomaha
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Default Cabbage - Pests and no Pests

I pulled about half my cabbage today, 8 heads, what I thought was salvageable.


My plans for an abundance of sauerkraut will not reach fruition this year. The extended cool weather was good for cabbage this year. Unfortunately a bug thought so too. The roots looked good. Among the damaged heads were Brunswick and Charleston Wakefield. On the plus side Glory Of Enkhuizen wasn't attractive to the pest and, small as it was, it is becoming coleslaw right now. Can I compost the cabbage with the bugs in it or is that a huge mistake?This is the culprit with damage in progress:
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Old June 29, 2019   #2
GoDawgs
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Dang, that's a shame. Hard to tell.. is that caterpillar poop in the first pic and the actual critter in the second pic? I try to keep mine sprayed with bT at the first sign of chewing.

BTW, I grow the Charleston Wakefield too. It does well here. Stonehead too.
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Old June 29, 2019   #3
greenthumbomaha
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Yep, frass and it's manufacturer in the photo below.
The chewing seems to go from nothing to swiss cheese leaves.


I usually plant different varieties of cabbage all in the spring, and pick as ready. My former growing partner blasted all the cabbage with sevin, and reapplied after every rain. It worked famously - we had so much cabbage all summer we got sick of it and just left it there until exhaustion from harvesting tomatoes was over.


I would happily use BT over sevin anytime. Do you have a cheapish resource for this in small quantity, GoDawhs?


- Lisa
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Old June 30, 2019   #4
bower
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To kill the caterpillars before composting you could chop up the afflicted cabbage. We always just throw the damaged produce all in - assuming in a thriving ecosystem, there are predators to also eat and dispose the pest.Cabbage butterflies are forever with us - I don't think killing them before composting will make a difference. Also slugs damage our cabbage big time when the weather is damp enough. And they surely find and live in every compost pile around, just helping to process any discarded vegetables.

Growing under row cover is another way to avoid the damage, but BTk is effective and a great save when you find them on your crop.
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Old June 30, 2019   #5
brownrexx
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The bottom picture looks like a slug and they love cabbage.

I would never grow cabbage NOT under a row cover and I usually have to use some organic slug bait around the plants right after planting.

DSC00392 by Brownrexx, on Flickr

Here is this year's crop. I didn't want to make sauerkraut this year so I cut back to 4 plants but I grow cabbage every year and never have insect problems.

20190607_182747 by Brownrexx, on Flickr
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Old June 30, 2019   #6
greenthumbomaha
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That is a very nice set up brownrex, and I think I have seen that photo or something similar in another thread. I tried to save a step and used a frost blanket but the plants didn't seem to be heading so I switched to this insect fabric. I switched to tulle after the fabric was shredded by hail. There were times where everything blew off, hence the invasion of the white butterfly.


I have transplants started and after the heatwave passes they'll be planted about 10 feet from the old cabbage row. At what point to I begin the Btk application? I never saw the caterpillars, especially under the solid white fabric. I still have more of the roll to use up for these fall plantings.
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Old June 30, 2019   #7
bower
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Brownrexx those cabbages are awesome!
What kind of fabric is that you're using for cover? Is it long lasting?
I'm asking because the ag stuff we get (which does add some warmth as well) is not transparent and it's not that long lasting. Mind you I am using odds and ends that were being thrown out at the farm a few years ago, but the stuff does deteriorate and then... what a waste.
Also my mom hates the look of row cover but your stuff looks great! She might go for it.
@Lisa, we also use the organic slug baits. It's non-toxic to everyone but slugs and snails. It works great in the field as long as you keep it weeded, so they don't have so many places to hide and choice snacks on their way to work.
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Old June 30, 2019   #8
brownrexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
That is a very nice set up brownrex, and I think I have seen that photo or something similar in another thread. I tried to save a step and used a frost blanket but the plants didn't seem to be heading so I switched to this insect fabric. I switched to tulle after the fabric was shredded by hail. There were times where everything blew off, hence the invasion of the white butterfly.
It appears that your covering was not weighted down and that there were gaps allowing pests to enter under the cover. Note that I hold mine down with bricks.

I grow nice, bug free cabbage and cauliflower using this method. I do use organic slug baits but no bt because if you keep the butterflies out with a cover then there will be no worms to kill with bt.

These are this year's cabbages:

20190607_192047 by Brownrexx, on Flickr

and a cauliflower from last year.

DSC00663 by Brownrexx, on Flickr

bower I use a craft type fabric that is sold in the bridal veil department of fabric stores. It comes in many colors but I like green. It is fairly cheap and durable if you are careful with it. I have torn holes in it when it gets hooked on my wire support but then I took a needle and thread and repaired the tear. The fabric that I am currently using is about 4 years old and I like it better than the floating row covers because I can see through it and watch over my plants. It also allows more water and light through. Tulle would be a fabric with smaller holes but the holes in the stuff I use are small enough to exclude cabbage butterflies. They would not exclude aphids but I don't have any trouble with those.
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Old June 30, 2019   #9
greenthumbomaha
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Bower, I think Brownrexx battles slugs. I've never seen a slug here in Nebraska.

In another thread, tulle from WalMart was mentioned as a bug exclusion cloth as long as it was suspended above the plants as depicted above. For a short run in a home garden, it is cost effective (mine was 6 feet wide by 12 feet long for $3) and durability isn't paramount for me at this price.

The white insect barrier shown above from Gardens Alive was $$$$ and rips easily.

- Lisa
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Old June 30, 2019   #10
GoDawgs
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Lisa, I get my bT at the local feed & seed store. No shipping! I'm pretty sure HD and Lowes carry it too. You'll most likely find it under the trade names Thuricide or DiPel.
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Old June 30, 2019   #11
greenthumbomaha
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Thank you GoDawgs, I have 2 big box stores and a nursery that carries Bonide near me. Should I apply to transplants as a preventative or wait for an active infestation of caterpillars down the road? I still see the white moths flying about the backyard checking everything out.



- Lisa
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Old June 30, 2019   #12
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I've not seen caterpillars after transplants... yet. Couldn't hurt to spray though if they're after other stuff already.

Those danged white moths are flitting around my garden too. They're paying big attention to the aspabroc (generic broccolini) which I've let go to seed for collection but they're after the flowers or any other flowers in the garden too.

Thanks for the heads up about Wally World's tulle. I'll check next time I'm there and see what they have. At one time they had done away with the cloth department.
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