growing leafy green vegetables - Knowledgebase Question

Tarpon Springs, Fl
Question by lauranneschm
June 30, 2010
I live in Tarpon Springs, FL and planted kale and swiss chard in a raised garden. They were doing great until small worms began to eat the leaves. Liquid sevin didn't help so I used the powder form. I lost both crops. Is there any way to protect leafy vegetables from worms in the future? Any suggestions on organic methods to do that? Thanks


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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It's probably a cabbageworm or cabbage looper, small pale green caterpillars that chew holes in the leaves. They make a little arch with their body as they move along. If you catch them early, handpicking them is an easy and effective control. Look under leaves and all around the plant. You can often spot their dark, pellet-shaped droppings which can help you locate them. You can also try a forceful spray of water from the hose to knock them off and then round them up in a batch. If they are out of control, you can use Bacillus thurengiensis or Bt. It is a biological control--a bacteria that kills only caterpillars and is safe to other insects, humans and animals. Note however that it will destroy all caterpillars, including the larvae of butterflies. I hope this info helps.

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