How to Reduce Insect Pest Damage on Cabbage

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There are a number of different ways that you can reduce insect pest damage on cabbage. Find out how you can reduce insect pest damage on cabbage with help from the founder of Gardenerd in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Growing Greens
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Christy Wilhelmi from Gardenerd and this is how to reduce pest damage on cabbage. Growing things in the cabbage family, that's the Brassicas by the way includes not only cabbage but broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, kale and a couple of other things that don't actually sound like they fit into this family but the things I'm going to show you about how to reduce pest damages on cabbage also works for those plants as well. Now I have a bed here planted with four different kinds of kale, a couple different kinds of cabbage and kohlrabi and they all get infected or affected by the same critters. Now mostly what those things are are snails, slugs, aphids and cabbage worms. So let's start with snails. Snail damage looks something like this where big holes are eaten in your leaves and they look very sad and usually what you can see on the backside, though I don't have a great example of it here are things like snail trail so you see this kind of slimy trail across your leaves and that's pretty, you pretty much know you've got snails or slugs if you see those markings on your plants. So to reduce snails and slugs one of the things you can do is well, personal interaction. If you come out to your garden in the morning, basically they're heading home from their night of revelry. So checking the underside of the leaves, checking around the base of the plant and you'll find them actually heading home and you can scoop them up, I like to collect them in a can and then throw them far far away and then see if they can get back, they can eat as much as they want. But the other thing to do is to place, strategically place pie pans, very shallow dishes of beer, they like fresh beer in your garden and you bury the beer in a pie pan up to the soil level and basically they go in, they die happy and you have fewer snails. So that's slugs and snails. The next thing is aphids. One of the things that helps reduce aphids on your Brassicas and particularly your cabbage is to grow them in the Fall instead of in Spring. It's cooler and generally they just grow better then. So I do that and I have virtually no aphids on my cabbages at all. If you do grow them in the Spring, what you want to do is make sure you have a lot of beneficial insects around your garden like ladybugs. So ladybugs are a perfect beneficial insectry because they actually eat aphids and by having a lot of flowers planted around your garden they will attract beneficial insects to the garden and help you control your aphid population that way. You can use sprays but they're not as effective and I try to avoid them in an organic garden because even organic sprays are not exactly harmless. So, it's best to avoid the sprays if you can. So, that's aphids. Next and probably the most important is cabbage moths. So those cute little butterflies you may see them flying around me while I'm here because they're at large right now. Basically they lay their eggs under the undersides of the leaves and I have examples of that here which I'm going to find one and point them out. So those little tiny eggs turn into bigger cabbage moths. But they start out very small, so they can be hard to see. Now, to prevent the cabbage moths from laying their eggs on the undersides of your leaves in the first place, the best thing to use is floating row cover. Now floating row cover is this gauzy material right here and it comes in different thicknesses for insulation purposes. So if you live in a place that's really cold and you actually need it to be a little bit warmer where your plants are growing, you can get it in an insulated version that is better than just this. Now these have U pins in them. I've installed these myself and these U pins are metal and they push through the fabric and basically protect the plants from the cabbage moths landing on them. So what it looks like is this. It gets draped over and I'll pin these into the ground and these sticks are here in the ground because when these plants were younger, the floating row cover would stay above the tops of the plants. So basically this drops over the top like this. You can water through it and the sunlight comes through it and it keeps the critters from laying their eggs on your cabbages. I'm Christy Wilhelmi with Gardenerd and this was how to control pest damage on cabbage.

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