Home Remedies for Vegetable Garden Green Worms

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Garden green worms, also known as cabbage worms, are easily recognized by their bright green color. Green worms will feast on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, kale and radish leaves. Home remedies can be used to get rid of garden green worms and are safe to use in organic vegetable gardens. Pick and kill adult green worms found on your vegetables, as well as larvae, which will be on the underside of the plant leaves.

Close-up of a cabbage worm on a leaf.
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Place gardening floating row covers on plants such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. The material is light and will float on top of the vegetable crops, allowing room for growth but preventing green worms from penetrating to the leaves. To protect cabbage, place a nylon stocking on each head until harvest time.

Man kneeling in a cabbage patch.
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Plant red cabbage cultivars in your garden, because they are less appealing to green worms. Planting mint, sage, rosemary, thyme or hyssop among your vegetables will help deter the insects.

An assortment of garden herbs.
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A homemade insecticide can be mixed together as a green worm remedy. Soak 3 ounces of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of mineral oil in a glass jar with a lid for 24 hours. Strain out the garlic and add 1 pint of water and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. The soap will act as a sticking agent. Dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons of the garlic-soap mixture with 1 pint of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray on the plant leaves, covering both top and bottom.

Test this spray on one or two plants for 24 hours to make sure the plants do not have an adverse reaction. Always spray homemade insecticide in the morning, as full sun exposure can burn your plants.

Garlic cloves on a counter top.
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A neem oil mixture can be used as a natural insecticide, and is safe to use in organic gardening. Neem oil concentrate can be purchased at local lawn and garden centers or stores specializing in organic gardening products.

Mix 1 ounce of neem oil in 1 gallon of water, and add a drop of liquid dish detergent as a wetting agent. Besides spraying vegetables that green worms infest, it can be used on spices and herbs, small fruits and berries, stone fruits and tropical fruits. This mixture is safe to re-apply once a week if necessary.

An employee working at a garden center.
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